Big Picture

8 ways to be a great customer during COVID

For anyone that has ever worked in customer service, you would know there are certain behaviours that are greatly welcomed from customers that can help to make your job easier or even make your day. During this ever changing and challenging time, the ability to be a great customer and extend kindness to those we come into contact within a service environment is more important than ever.

Here’s 8 helpful tips to support customer service professionals:

  1. Comply with safe social distancing regulations that have been put in place to protect both team members and customers. I have watched team members be abused for asking a customer to adhere to the protocols that are in place for everyone’s protection. Compliance with these measures are essential for everyone’s safety and health.
  2. Be patient. Things will take longer than usual as changes to ways of normal modes of operation have had to change and restrictions have impacted everything from delivery times to minimum numbers of customers allowed in stores. Call volumes have increased in many contact centres as demand increases and these factors are all impacting on the time it takes to serve.
  3. Look at how you can support local businesses either through using delivery services, calling ahead to place an order, utilising take away services, anything we can be doing as a community to support small businesses will be critical to their survival.
  4. Understand many changes that are taking place are beyond the control of the person you are speaking with. Changes to terms and conditions, cancellations of services and other disruptions are a result of the current situation and it is important to separate the person from the issue you are dealing with. It is not their fault.
  5. Pass on a compliment. Take the time to acknowledge and recognise exceptional customer service. Write a note of appreciation, make a phone call, send an email or share a positive review on social media, get the positive word out. I made a phone call this week and spoke to a support centre of a very busy organisation to pass on my positive feedback, and the reaction was incredible, as the team member shared with me, they are dealing with so many challenges and difficult situations, to hear great news stories is greatly appreciated.
  6. If something has gone wrong, take the time to let the business know. Give them an opportunity to rectify service issues through giving constructive feedback. Feedback from customers is an essential part of continuous improvement and as businesses are having to adapt and make swift and constant changes, the ability to give instant feedback gives businesses an immediate access to voice of the customer and provides them with an opportunity to improve current practices.
  7. Show respect and courtesy for team members and fellow customers at all times. There have been far too many instances of unacceptable customer conduct that have shown a fundamental lack of respect for those working in a service environment. The safety and well-being of all team members and customers is paramount at all times. As customer, these are trying times and if you find yourself feeling stressed or angry, take a few deep breaths and focus on remaining calm and in control.
  8. Simply engage with the team. Ask them how their day is going, have a laugh with them, reach out and have a conversation. These moments of interaction can provide relief from the stresses the team can be facing on a daily basis.

I am watching in awe and speaking with so many incredible customer service leaders and professionals dealing with unprecedented demands, res-structuring entire workplaces, having to work from home all while still be able to service their customers and having to adapt so quickly to new ways of working. Genuine interest and concern for their world at present is a way we can all build strong connections and let the team know, we are all in this together.

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Monique Richardson
Monique Richardson is the author of ‘Managing Difficult Customer Behaviour – A Practical Guide For Confident Conversations’ and is one of Australia’s leading experts in Service Leadership and Customer Service.

Monique Richardson is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through LinkedIn.