Mental Health / 14.06.2020

Putting Employees and Customers First During a Crisis

This is a once-in-a-generation kind of crisis that we are currently going through and even today there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The efforts taken by governments around the world to slow the spread of the pandemic will itself disrupt our normal way of life and business as usual has few takers. During such a time, any brand regardless of its industry vertical needs to pay special attention to its employees and customers. They are anxious and they need your help now.

To that end, we would like to explore some of the principles and guidelines that the senior executive teams in an organization can adhere to in order to bring about a sense of security and belongingness among its employees and customers alike. You can start with a sound call center crisis management plan. This can then even be included in your corporate crisis management plan.

Have a solid crisis communication plan

Even during best of the times, you relied on execution plans and seamless communication across the board. So why should it be any different during a major crisis. The first step is to have a great call center crisis management and communication plan. You can put together a team or a committee that is responsible for developing policies and best practices. Special care needs to be taken to ensure that the front-line employees are involved in every stage of the plan from awareness to execution to business continuity protocols.

So, a good crisis communication plan should include preparing for business disruptions and mitigating long-term damages while maintaining sterling rapport with employees and customers alike. It also should chart out ways to improve employee aid and customer support now that most of us are put up in our shelter-in-places. You cannot ignore the importance of good customer service during a crisis. Hence empathy in customer service is crucial. So let’s focus on two things – how to improve the employee experience and how to enhance customer service.

Prepare for the new way of doing business

Businesses did not have enough time to adjust to the new normal and immense disruption coming our way. But that is what business disruptions are all about, they all come unannounced. Now that does not mean we do nothing about it. Having a good succession and business continuity plan is the first step to getting used to it. You can have a how-to-guide for remote work, a plan to reduce business to critical operations only or even cross-training your employees to handle critical functions.

A good way to start would be to documents all critical processes and crucial customer service operations. A contingency plan for when things don’t go as expected is extremely important. It would also be a good time to empower your employees and customer service reps to take decisions keeping in mind the customer interests. Focusing on call center customer experience best practices would be a good way to start.

Show empathy towards your stakeholders

Employee and customer safety were never so important as it is today. Every brand needs to take cognizance of the fact that taking care of their employee’s and customer’s health and well-being is crucial. This also reflects in the way you communicate and empathize with them. They might be going through a lot of insecurities and uncertainties in their personal lives too. So, humanizing your brand means putting your employees first and customers a close second.

You can take some simple steps like checking in with all your employees regularly and giving them an appreciation for all the great work that they are doing regardless of the crisis.  Encourage their mental well-being, ask them to take a regular break from work and so on. You can have a virtual get-together for all your employees and their family members to show how much you really care about them.

Just like you prepare to offer additional support to your customers during this crisis, you can also have an employee assistance program in place. Remember that only happy employees can get you happy customers. So, it could be something like offering them free healthcare benefits, financial assistance, family support, insurance and any other things that you deem fit during these tough times.

Remember, companies that walk the extra mile to ensure their employees and customers feel truly valued, would no doubt leapfrog the competition and emerge stronger than ever before from this crisis.

Learn more about how Uniphore can help you put your employees and customers first during a crisis.