Opinion

Supporting Customer Service During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Customer Service - cfamedia

Needless we say the coronavirus pandemic has, adversely, affected humans, as well as caused regression, in all endeavours of human life.

The need to observe social distancing and avoid crowded places, in order to curb the further spread of the pandemic, has caused many organisations to shut down.

A popular artiste, once sang, in pidgin, “nobody wan kpai, but dem wan go heaven”, meaning, “nobody wants to die, but everybody wants to go to heaven”. Now, that’s on a lighter note. The truth is that nobody wants to die, hence, the reason why many are religiously, observing the lockdown.

Reports have it that, those without very strong immune systems, might not survive if they contracted the virus.

The shutdown has not, only, affected government agencies, but also, privately-owned organisations. Only a few of these, are able to continue to operate, during this pandemic.

The few that, are able to operate, are doing so, with limited staff and there are chances of lapses occurring in the services provided to customers, in such a time as this.

There is a department, in many organisations, set up with the sole aim of interacting with customers, as well as, providing them with various exclusive services, called the customer service.

The customer service is, indisputably, an important arm, in any organisation, to ensure success. It can make or mar a company’s reputation, in the public eye.

Show me an organisation without good customer service and I will show you, a business not thriving and headed for a downward plunge, in its deals.

In as much as it is, important to acquire new customers, keeping them loyal is a different ball game, which rests, majorly, on the shoulders of your company’s customer service.
The lockdown has, obviously, denied consumers access to various infrastructure and facilities.

They are not able to visit some very important places to carry out business transactions, as they would normally do, which has made them to be subscribing to other available options during this period that, the Coronavirus pandemic is raging.

There are, however, services that are essential, for which demands are unavoidably pressing, despite the lockdown, thus, to bridge the gap in demand and supply, provision of services to consumers in their various homes is, dependent on good customer service.

This, they do, by taking orders, note remote queries, provide answers and resolve queries, especially, ones that do not, essentially, involve the compulsory presence of customers, during the lockdown.

The customer service, also, ensures delivery of services, to customers, with less human contact, especially, in this pandemic.

There is no gainsaying the fact that, being out of business, at a time like this, is uneconomical for the many organisations, in the business environment. Inaccessibility, to various products and services for customers, as well, can be frustrating.

The effective way of satisfying both parties, (organisations and customers), therefore, is for the organisation to set up and support a good customer service network.
With the lock down causing restrictions in movement, customers are forced to depend on remote services, hence, an increase in number of queries.

The availability of more trained personnel to handle queries, on the part of the firm, will help reduce the bulkiness of the task and ensure the effectiveness of the customers service unit.

Provision of adequate tools and machinery, by the firm, for effective communication is, also, important. Communication is vital in the customers service network.

The network is crippled, in the absence of effective communication, hence, training of personnel in good communication skills and availability of a good communication network and facilities, will go a long way in helping the customer service unit, to efficiently, carry out its operations.

Provision of conducive working environment and incentives, to encourage team members is, also, a means of supporting customer service.

The weight of demand and supply, now rests on the shoulder of the customers service unit, thus, a good working condition and environment, as well as, additional incentives, will go a long way, in encouraging and boosting the morale of team members, in this pandemic.

Provision of good transportation network, for service delivery, when there is need for home delivery, is of utmost importance, as we know that, all forms of public transportation are, currently, restricted to only essential service and goods providers.

At this time of lockdown, some essential products and services, e.g., food, drugs, etc., are on demand.

For firms whose services are unrestricted, the provision of means of transportation for the essential staff that, hitherto, commute by public transportation to and from the office, will help make them get to work on time and improve the organisations service delivery.

Provision of online, self-servicing mechanisms for customers, especially, for very light queries, should, also, be made available, as this would go a long way, in helping to reduce the workload on customer queries, get more queries resolved and reduce the strain on the customer service unit, while ensuring that its goals are met.

An example of this, is in the banking and telecommunications sector. The use of short codes, USSD and apps, made available to customers, to resolve some queries, has tremendously, helped those sectors to reduce the clog in their customers service unit, while helping in meeting their customer’s needs.

The customers, also, have a role to play, in supporting customer service. They need to be patient and understanding, taking note that, the times have changed.

We are at a time, when people are under pressure. They, probably, have never experienced this kind of period before.

The workload on the customers’ service network is, quite bulky, currently.

Customers can help, by being brief and precise in communicating their needs to their suppliers, as the effectiveness of services, at this time can be challenging, due to the barrier of restrictions.

Supporting customer service in these trying times, by both customers and the organisations, is of utmost importance and should not be overlooked, especially, during this Coronavirus pandemic.

While we make efforts, to support customer service, let us not forget to stay safe and stay strong. Let us keep hope alive and believe that these difficult times, will pass.

About the Author

Damilola Adebesin is a graduate of Mass Communication, from Yaba College of Technology. She is a creative writer and a skilled baker. She also has passion for guiding and helping young adults, especially, victims of abuse.


Featured Image: nairametrics


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