We are living in historical times. In 50 years, many stories will be told about what it was like living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything we do during these troubled times is important and that includes customer service. Generally, customer service is the backbone of a company and where a lot of a company’s reputation is made or tarnished. These days, the ability to give quality customer service can quite literally make or break a company. Why you ask? Here are just a few ways.
Since March of this year many places have been completely shut down. Essential businesses have finally started to open with restrictions, but entertainment venues and places where families tend to go to let off a little steam are still largely off limits. That puts a significant strain on the human mind as most of their time is spent indoors. Parks where children used to run, and play are shut down and playing with friends is often a no go zone as well.
The human mind is an interesting thing. Isolation from others is fine for a short period of time, but when you place an entire family in a home without proper outlets for an extended period, stress can make them do funny things. Building up stress in a home can cause outbursts and parents tend to try to avoid yelling at their children. Unfortunately, the unsuspecting customer service representative that is called for a seemingly mild issue has the potential to be completely unloaded on by the stressed out individual. This is also not just with parents, but a common problem with the vast majority of individuals from all walks of life.
When the pandemic hit, the unemployment rate skyrocketed. Instantly many areas that had relatively controlled unemployment numbers quickly saw those numbers shoot up to double digits in just a matter of days. You can take a lot from humans, but when the ability to make money and live the life we are accustomed to is taken away, people will react.
In today’s world, customer service representatives hear calls from everyone cancelling unnecessary services and trying to hold off payments just until things get better or the induvial finds a job. Thankfully, companies are working with customers to alleviate some of the strain and holding off payments, but it is still a very strained time for a customer simply trying to get by.
Not only are customers largely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but customer service representatives themselves have been disjointed by the current situation. Companies that once housed rooms full of cubicles and customer service representatives willing and ready to take the call lie completely empty devoid of life. Instead companies are asking each employee to work from their homes leading to untold challenges while trying to perform their day to day tasks.
The average customer service representative used to take their children to work or to daycare before heading off to their regular job, but that is no longer the case. While working from home, an employee often must answer questions from the children regarding their online schoolwork while attempting to do their own job and take care of the family’s needs. It is a lot to take and for customer service representatives that have yet to discover how to separate work and home life will it is all under the same building, those stresses can have a huge impact on their ability to provide quality service to each and every customer.
Unfortunately, customer service representatives are currently on the front lines. Even though these individuals are already adapted to be the personal face of the company, they are under more stress today as more customers are calling on a daily basis. As always, some customers are a delight to deal with, but an increasing number quickly become combative when a call does not go their way. It is an unfortunate fact that customer service representatives come under fire from overstressed customers, but these are just the times we live in.
During these uncertain times, we all must work together. No one is immune to stipulations during the current pandemic and we have all had to make adjustments to our day to day lives. Whether you are the stay at home family trying to work it all out together or the customer service representative trying to perform your duties the best way you can, we all must embrace patience for our fellow human. Patience is something hard to learn, but it is important. When you encounter a negative customer service call or happen to be the one calling in, remember, there is a human on the other end of that phone call or email just trying to get by. We can get through this with a little extra peace, kindness, and understanding.