WHAT TO DO
A global crisis isn’t good for anyone – that’s why it’s called a crisis. From health to economics, a global crisis can do plenty of damage and cause people to change their way of life. For example, the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused many people to work from home and alter their day-to-day lives. So, what does all this mean for those working in call centers? Quite a bit, actually. The following are best practices for what a call center representative and their company should do during a global crisis.
A global crisis affects customers in a number of ways. If they are working from home, they may be using products at an increased rate than normal. This could mean a spike in calls when issues arise. Additionally, a global crisis is almost guaranteed to hurt the economy. The longer one goes on, the more likely people are to lose wages or their job. During these times, it’s essential for call center representatives to show compassion for customer hardships, and support them with whatever their problems may be. A number of companies set up payment plans or deferred payments during times of economic downturn, so a call center must be prepared to present any and all information regarding these programs to inquiring customers.
During a global crisis, issues seem to increase while staffs decrease. Call center representatives working through a global crisis must be prepared for long, intense hours of work. Representatives must also be prepared to work remotely. Mentally prepare yourself for how different it will be to answer calls and messages from a home office, as well as a sudden increase in inquiries from customers.
Public relations should not be at the forefront of everyone’s mind during times of crisis, but how a company responds during these times may lead to sales and other PR-related benefits later on down the road. A call center representative must be informed of their company’s relief efforts in order to relay that information to the public. Whether it is charitable events, donations or other acts of kindness (some alcohol distilleries began producing hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 outbreak), a call center needs to be in the know about everything happening.
REMEMBER IT’S NOT FOREVER
Perhaps the best thing call center representatives can do during a global crisis is remember that whatever is happening will not last forever. You are not condemned to your kitchen table, working off a tiny laptop, for the rest of your days. All you can ever do is your best, and that is all a company wants from their call center. Relax, remember your training, and do your best to help customers when they make contact. Tough times are a part of life, but they will get better eventually. Call center representatives with an optimistic outlook will consistently have positive interactions with customers. Life isn’t perfect. Times will get tough, and 2020 has proven that. How a call center handles a global crisis speaks volumes about a company, and it’s important to always remember that.