Last updated: Customer service: The X factor in business resilience

Customer service: The X factor in business resilience


Listen to article

Download audio as MP3

The most dramatic business story of the last 12 months, quite clearly, is the number of companies – indeed, sheer industries – that have suffered significant losses. How can businesses bounce back? What’s the role of a customer service strategy in business resilience?

Over the past year, the concept of business resilience has become pervasive – the idea that companies must continually adapt to succeed in unpredictable environments.

Of course, well before COVID, companies were grappling with the continued acceleration of e-commerce, new regulations, and the effects of climate change on the global supply chain. In every industry, companies have had to move swiftly to adapt their business models to changing circumstances.

The problem is, even companies that are aggressively reexamining their business model tend to overlook the importance of a customer service strategy as a key element of resilience.

The power of good customer service 

As companies reexamine their business models – whether to gain share, pursue new opportunities, or get out in front of future disruptions – it’s important to keep in mind that customers also are struggling to adapt to uncertainty.

In fact, in these times of intense and unrelenting change, customers are seeking reassurance just as much as management and shareholders.

Customers want to know that they’re still important, and they want to know that they can expect the same quality of products and services that they received before the pandemic. At the same time, customers provide an invaluable source of feedback about the changes that a company is making – and how such changes are impacting customer experience and perception.

That’s why a sound customer service strategy is such a crucial, if often overlooked, ingredient of business resilience.

Customer service strategy 101

It’s clear that effective customer service will continue to be a core element of business resilience well beyond the current crisis. Here are the key considerations for every business:

  1. In times of change, customers need support to help quickly answer questions and address any concerns
  2. Customer feedback through the service channel is an invaluable source of information about how your company is performing, and ways that you can continue to improve
  3. To be able to help, customer service agents need all relevant data at their fingertips
  4. Intelligent technologies help reduce contact volume and manual work so agents have more time to focus on customer interactions
  5. Customer service improves business resilience by smoothing the effects of change and supporting customers in all situations. If you support your customers when times are difficult, they will stick with you over the long haul.

Empowering the empathetic customer service agent

According to Forrester, an effective customer service strategy begins with empathy based on a genuine understanding of each customer’s very real struggle at this time of crisis.

Of course, it’s not enough to simply coach customer service teams about the importance of empathy. They also need to be provided the tools that enable it.

When they’re speaking to a customer, for example, service agents need easy, on-screen access to any and all data that is relevant to the situation. This may include information on prior orders, shipping details, or readouts from previous times the customer has reached out with specific concerns. It’s also imperative that the agent have immediate access to pertinent articles and documents such as fixes to common product issues.

At the same time, many customers want, and have every right to expect, self-service options that enable them to locate answers without having to wait to speak to a representative. This is where tools like AI-driven chatbots can be helpful, letting customers quickly arrive at resolutions to common problems.

Likewise, newer approaches to knowledge management help ensure that customers can easily locate information when they turn to Google for help. These types of tools also reduce call center volume, freeing up agents to focus on less readily resolved customer issues.

Amazing every time.

A CX that drives loyalty + bottom lines starts HERE.


Share this article


Search by Topic beginning with