How Not to Support Your Clients in a Crisis

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Imagine you’re the client of a business and you have a problem. You contact them for help and this is the email you get back:

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ticket volume is much higher than usual. Inquiries currently are being resolved in 7-14 days instead of our normal 24 hour response time.”

The email then directs you to try and resolve the issue yourself using their FAQ pages but then doesn’t provide a link to those pages. In fact, the email actually says, “Include link here.”

This is what happened to a member of the boomtime team recently when she contacted a company where she is a client. She was looking for support with a problem she was having. Instead, she received what we all agreed was an unsatisfying response to her request for help.

As a company that provides support to our clients, we know that COVID-19 has created a lot of challenges. We’ve also experienced a significant uptick in support calls and the need to pivot rapidly in order to provide our clients with the support they need from us during this time. It is challenging to provide the same level of support during a time of crisis as you would during normal times, but the last thing you can afford to do right now is ignore or abandon the clients you have.

It costs 6-7 times more to get a new client than it does to take care of the ones you already have. Here are some things our teams focus on in order to make sure we are taking care of our clients and doing everything we can to meet their needs:

Make Things Easy

The last thing you want to do is increase the effort your clients have to make in order to fix a problem. Asking them to wait 7-14 times longer than they would normally have to wait is not acceptable. Make it simple for them to contact you. Provide as many easy to access online resources as you can for when you can’t pick up the phone. Be transparent about what they should expect and when they should expect it. But you also want to make things as easy on your customers right now as you possibly can. Now is the time to go the extra mile to make sure you’re taking care of the clients you do have so that you can continue to have them as clients on the other side of this crisis. It’s the best way to grow word of mouth for your business, but it’s also the right thing to do for your customers.

Stay in Contact

The worst thing you can do in a crisis is to stop communicating. Make sure you are continuing to stay in touch with your clients and are focusing on what is important to them during this time. Take the time to be honest with them about what is going on. Listen to the problems and issues they’re facing. Now is the time to figure out how to solve new problems or to innovate and create new solutions to old problems.

Be Empathetic

This is a crazy and challenging time for all of us, both at home and with our businesses. But people do business with other people, and your clients may just need a sympathetic ear to listen to them before offering any sort of solution. Make sure you’re taking the time and making the effort to be there for your clients when they contact you. Listen to them. Let them tell you about the challenges they’re facing and what they really need help with. Then take the time to help them find the right solution and go the extra mile where you can in order to meet their needs.

Provide Solutions

Successful businesses provide solutions to the problems their clients face. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how easy you are to contact or how much
empathy you demonstrate if you can’t provide a solution. This could mean providing the same tried and true solutions that you always have. It could also mean innovating and developing new solutions to meet the unique needs of your clients during a crisis. Either way, make sure you’re doing what you can to solve the problems your clients are facing.

The customer experience can make or break your business during the best of times. But during a crisis when the stakes are high and emotions are even higher, it’s even more important to be there for your clients. People are more engaged than ever right now and it’s the perfect opportunity to build good word of mouth and set your business up for success on the other side of this crisis. But you have to take good care of your clients.

All the best,

Bill Bice

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