April 02, 2020 | The ForeSee Blog

Are You Asking and Listening to Customers and Employees?

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They have a lot to say about their COVID-19 experiences

In this new business environment, what should your organization do to support customers and employees? Strategies will differ, but all need to include two actions: ask them what they need and make it easy for your organization to listen to what they say.

Ask

You may already have a banner or notice on your homepage pointing customers to details about how the organization is responding to the COVID-19 situation. If you do not have something similar on your homepage, we recommend putting one there. If you do, is that hub helping calm customer concerns and assuring them that your organization is ready to respond to their evolving needs?

The best way to find out is by asking them. A simple call-to-action link such as “How do you feel about our COVID-19 response?” can be added to the main landing page. That link could direct them to a short, two-question survey:

Question 1 – Was our COVID-19 information page helpful?

  • Answer 1 – Yes / No

Question 2 – Do you have any comments?

  • Answer 2 – Open text box

Keep it simple for your customers. You will probably get a mix of responses: people saying you are not doing enough, others indicating how your actions fall short of your plan, some suggesting changes you could make to serve them better, and many who are very appreciative of everything you have already done. Route suggestions and complaints to the appropriate business team for them to take action. Share compliments and messages of thanks with the wider organization, especially front-line employees to show them that all the hard work they’re doing during this stressful time is being appreciated.

Email is another channel to leverage. Companies might reach out directly with strategy details or laying out support actions. Such emails can contain a simple link asking, “Was this email helpful?”, which points to a similarly short survey like the one described above. Another option is to email your customers a survey directly, asking for their opinions about all that’s happened. It can be a longer than two questions and customized for different custom segments but try to keep it brief—everyone has a lot going on right now.

The importance of delivery, buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS), and curbside pickup fulfillment options has increased. Solicit feedback about each one of those options in the confirmation emails you send to customers with their receipts. Add a short question, such as, “How was your delivery/BOPIS/curbside experience?” linked to a modified short survey. Fine tuning these fulfilment options is a high priority right now and customers who feel like your company is taking the extra steps to keep them safe will likely remember that the next time they need to make a purchase.

A similar strategy should be adopted for reaching out to your employees. Email them a survey asking if you are addressing their changing requirements. Do they have the tools they need to succeed from working at home? Are there any concerns the business should be aware of? Do they have suggestions? Such surveys help employees feel engaged during this stressful time and lets them know they are being listened to.

Listen

It’s possible your customers have already been coming to you with new questions and requests. Have they been leaving comments using your existing feedback tools and surveys? Analyze that data by searing or filtering for the words: coronavirus, corona, virus, covid, and covid-19. Dig into those comments and route them to the appropriate internal teams for action—and don’t forget to share words of praise with the appropriate parties.

How about in your contact center? You likely have already given agents guidance for how to handle new customer questions and situations. Are you auditing how that is going?

It may require giving your speech analytics a tune-up. You might need to create new categories for terms specific to the virus and conduct a phonetics boost to ensure all of those categories are comprehended by the system.

What about when customers are interacting with your self-service tools? Have you updated how your Intelligent Virtual Assistant and Interactive Voice Response systems provide assistance for customer needs now?

You should also do a quantitative investigation across all these channels. Has volume increased drastically since March? How about satisfaction? Just because volume has increased and people are stressed doesn’t necessarily mean their satisfaction with you as a brand has dropped. Be sure to validate your own assumptions by digging into the numbers. What new challenges and opportunities are your customers sharing with you already that can help you make them happier?

We Can Help

If you have questions about how to act on any of the recommendations above, please reach out to your Verint account team. If you are not a Verint customer currently, please contact us to set up a discussion about how we can help you improve your employee and customer experiences.

It’s very important to ask questions of and listen to your customers right now. This is a challenging time for them, personally and professionally. Companies that deliver what customers need can expect loyalty to grow substantially, while companies that do not deliver risk irreparably damaging their customer relationships.

For more free COVID-19 resources from Verint, please visit the links below.

Stay connected:

Get COVID-19 best practices:

Support your remote workforce:

Written by Charlie Danoff, Senior Analyst

About the Author

As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, ForeSee delivers superior technology and proven methodology to connect the customer experience to the bottom line. The result is better business for companies and a better experience for consumers.

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