“Your call is important to us. Please hold the line.” 

As travellers were forced to cancel or change their plans in the initial weeks of COVID-19, hotels, accommodation providers, airlines, travel companies, tour operators, and many others were inundated with calls. The increase in demand, coupled with social distancing and staff having to work from home, meant that customer service levels were strained. Businesses simply could not respond to their customers fast enough. 

When businesses don’t respond promptly, customers get frustrated. Customer satisfaction scores drop. Complaints increase and online ratings decrease. 

A recent Washington Post Article indicated that 70% of customers prefer to message businesses rather than call them, and customer satisfaction rates are 25% higher over messaging than over the phone.

Now, as the post-COVID era begins to take shape, domestic travel is beginning to return and people are getting ready to resume their travel plans. The demand for prompt customer service will ramp back up. But this time, businesses can learn from experience. Rather than simply keeping pace with incoming enquiries, customer service solutions must be re-assessed. Businesses have an opportunity to adopt lower cost service channels, operate more efficiently during peak times and re-evaluate their customer experience.

It’s also a time to start behaving the way your customers want you to by adding popular social media and mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger as customer service channels.

Here are some facts to consider:

Not only can messaging apps help improve your customer service capabilities and response times, but also to improve your staff productivity. But more than anything, it provides customers with the platform they want to use to engage with your business. 

Social media is most likely where your customers already are. And that’s exactly where your new customer service channels should be. Your customers don’t want to call you. They want an answer to their question, quickly, and easily. Perhaps this frightens you. But expanding your service capabilities beyond the traditional phone channel doesn’t mean you have to lose the human touch. Direct messaging a customer service team through social media messaging or mobile messaging apps still allows a human to human connection. Just through a new device.

73% consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service 

Service won’t be sacrificed. In fact, quite the opposite. Social media messaging will allow your staff to respond to more than one customer at a time. Response times will be faster. Staff productivity improved. And by communicating with your customers in their preferred channel, you’ll be improving the customer experience as well. 

Learn from the early stages of COVID-19 and adapt for your customers as the post-COVID era begins. Put your customers first and deliver exceptional service. Embrace customer experience technology, but keep the human to human connection. 

Need help to digitize your customer service? Local Measure Engage is a one-to-one social messaging solution allowing operations and frontline teams to manage WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter customer conversations via a single messaging inbox. Find out more about Local Measure here.