Three Tips for Protecting Your Customer Service During Economic Uncertainty

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The threat of a recession is looming, and layoffs and hiring freezes are already impacting many organizations. How can your organization protect its bottom line and endure this economic uncertainty? One thing is for sure: customer service cannot take a backseat.

During periods of disruption, new customers can be few and far between, so retailers must do everything they can to hold on to existing customers. And excellent customer support is key to this consumer retention. Of course, with hiring freezes and other cost-containment measures, retailers must be careful not to overextend their customer support teams and threaten the customer experience. But how?

Here are three tips for safeguarding your customer service team during economic uncertainty.

Tip #1: Have around-the-clock chatbots

By providing answers to common questions, chatbots delight customers with fast, always-on service. After all, 61% of consumers identify speed as the most important aspect of customer service. Having in place a 24/7 service option provides your customers with answers without forcing them to wait for available live agents.

Chatbots also allow your human customer care representatives to focus on the complex questions chatbots can’t answer. Since a chatbot can resolve up to 80% of common customer queries, live agents have fewer tickets and more capacity. If your existing customer service team focuses on sensitive issues and leaves the straightforward questions to chatbots, you can almost guarantee higher quality customer care and more fulfilled employees.

Tip #2: Implement multilingual customer support tools

Online retailers reaching diverse shoppers need to offer multilingual customer support, as 76% of customers want to make purchases in their own language. If you’re only providing support in English, you are leaving out nearly three-fourths of Internet users.

But hiring freezes and cost cuts typically mean you can’t bring on multilingual team members to help broaden the languages you offer. The answer? Make your existing team members multilingual, not by sending them to language classes but rather investing in language translation technology. Tech-enabled multilingual solutions allow your current team members to communicate with customers in their native language in real time — without the cost of hiring more live agents.

Tip #3: Provide sufficient self-service support options

Modern customers want to solve their problems without involving live agents. To make this possible, be sure to include easily searchable FAQs and other resources on your website that set up your customers for independence.

Not only does having an accessible online knowledge base allow your customers to be self-sufficient, but it also prevents your live agents from getting bombarded with repeat questions that have simple answers, allowing them more time to devote to nuanced questions that require more complicated answers. Empowering customers with self-service options can be especially beneficial if your agents are handling an influx of customer inquiries because of a hiring freeze.

Chatbots, multilingual customer support and self-service options can preserve your customer relationships and enable your team to work seamlessly, even in the case of hiring freezes and layoffs. If used effectively, these solutions will satisfy your customers and customer care teams, protect your bottom line and position your brand to emerge from an economic downturn stronger than ever.

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