Delivering customer care during COVID-19

With teams being forced to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, additional strain has been put on leaders to ensure customer service is still of the highest quality despite having to manage staff remotely.

In order for customers to feel minimal disruption, teams need to remain engaged, effective and productive in their new working environments – a whole new set of challenges to overcome.

Indigo Swan were recently recognised for the care they give their customers. Not only did they win the ‘Customer Care’ category at the Norfolk Business Awards 2020, they were also crowned ‘Best Customer Service – SME’ at the TELCA awards. 2020 came with both its challenges and its positives, but for the Norwich based energy consultants, their focus always remained the same and that was to provide the best level of service and keep their customers happy. With that in mind below are a few of their key tips to help you ensure your customer service doesn’t suffer during these challenging times.

So how can we successfully care for our customers whilst adapting to new operations and finding new ways to meet their needs? Now more than ever businesses are looking for more information, guidance, and support to help them navigate through the challenges that lay ahead of them. They want a resource and partner they can trust, that makes them feel safe when everything seems uncertain, and that offers support when so much seems overwhelming.

Reach out to customers and offer genuine support where you can. Get to know them on a personal level as well as in a business sense. Every interaction you have with them will help to build trust and every communication can influence whether they return or recommend you. Spend time looking at their needs and difficulties to see where you may be able to help them.

We’ve found at Indigo Swan, by having these conversations with our own customers, we have been able to find solutions to their specific problems which at times has meant a new offering or a change to a service we already provide. This flexibility and willingness to adapt has helped us retain business and provide new, exciting products to prospects giving us an edge over competitors.

Revisit your Client Experience Journey. This is something we do every couple of years. The primary objective is to get an in-depth understanding of your client’s journey and where you can add additional value. Unpick the processes your customers go through and identity any pain points. This will then allow you to implement any developments that are needed to improve their experience. You want the way your customers engage with you to be seamless and effortless. Iron out any kinks before they cost you their loyalty.

Where possible, be open and transparent. Transparency makes up a large part of trust and it’s vital to understand its importance when nurturing relationships with your customers. We recognise this need, which is why we are completely open in the way we charge our customers and ensure they understand how we recover the cost for our services. We never want them to confuse the cost of their energy with the cost of our service.

The energy industry is unregulated which means there are no guidelines on what the appropriate amount is to charge customers. This means that brokers can charge however much they want and don’t have to be upfront with these costs. Unfortunately, we hear time and time again about businesses who have been stung by hidden fees by a broker, once they have signed into a contract with a supplier, because the Broker hasn’t provided a clear breakdown of the costs.

It’s also important to be contactable. Make sure you have someone on the end of a phone to speak to your customers should they wish. Emails can be easily misinterpreted, and sometimes more positive connections can be made by taking the time to speak with someone over the phone. As a company, we always promote human connections. We spend quite a bit of time talking over the phone with our customers, about their energy requirements and how we can help them reach their goals.

Our customers have found our business as usual approach during lockdown beneficial. They know they will always be able to speak to someone should they have any concerns. Our ethos has always been to have an honest and open approach. We work hard to nurture relationships built on strong foundations of integrity and trust. We don’t want to be the cheapest or the biggest energy consultants in the UK we want to be the very best.

Use feedback to improve processes and efficiencies. Think about the best time and touchpoints to contact your customers, to ask them how they found the service you provided. It won’t always be what you want to hear, but by actively seeking comments from your customers you might discover some quick wins you weren’t already aware of. There may be elements that take longer to fix, but at least if you are aware of them you work towards improving these pain points for your customers.

Give your staff somewhere to voice their ideas and make sure they know they are being listened to. Sometimes ideas and innovations fail, but don’t sweep them under the rug –dig deep into the data and it’s there where you might find your most valuable lessons. We believe that happier employees mean more satisfied customers. Which is why we work hard to nurture an environment where our employees feel valued and empowered. We encourage team members to be themselves at work and appreciate the diversity this brings.

We are proud to be a collection of thoughtful, innovative and intelligent people, and that’s why we treasure ideas. Our ‘Brain Box’ is where any member of staff can submit an idea they think would be good for the company. As we have adapted to this new way of working, they have submitted ideas to improve their environment when working from home, make changes to processes and even think about plans for when we return to the office.

These are just a few of the ways you can provide care for your customers. If you would like any more information, please feel free to contact Indigo Swan.

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