How to lead a customer service team during the crisis

Written by Alana Team
on June 25, 2020

The customer service team is probably one of the most affected amid the uncertainties that the pandemic has brought, not only due to changes in their working hours but also due to the volume of daily contacts and the mood of people, who are tenser due to the proportion of the crisis caused by COVID-19.

A study by ABCom and Konduto shows that there was a 47% increase in e-commerce sales in April 2020. Now, imagine the support team of an online store that has to deal with the increase in the volume of service and, at the same time, adapt to a new work model.

This is a stressful period for customer care management, but we cannot let the quality of the service provided decrease. It is essential to learn how to lead the customer care team during this crisis. There are no rules, after all, we were all caught by surprise, but it is possible to innovate and think outside the box to manage the team.

As it is difficult to predict the post-COVID-19 scenario, it is essential to think about now and take action so that the team can provide adequate customer service.

Creating a pleasant environment

The first step for someone to do their job well is to create a healthy environment and provide inputs that meet their needs. For example, the materials needed to perform some activity, such as headphones, office chairs, footrests, etc.

Encouraging the team to do exercises frequently and organize breaks so that they can rest their minds is recommended! Also, see the current situation, it is important to review KPIs and, if necessary, adapt them so that the billing level is appropriate for the moment.

The welfare of employees must come first in times of crisis like this and it is extremely important to create actions to show the importance of the work of the customer care team.


Encourage feedback culture

During a crisis, it is essential to keep communication open and transparent. Right now, people are full of worries and anxieties, so keeping the team together and helping each other is an excellent way to calm spirits and foster the growth of teamwork.

If possible, have 1-1 conversations to get the impressions of who is working in the home office and, evaluate if there is something the company can do to improve the situation of the employee who performs customer service.

Here at Alana AI, we have a very strong weekly feedback culture, and it's nice to see how this brings people together and stimulates growth.


Use automation tools

The biggest challenge for support teams is how to provide good customer service, as each person has their expectations and there is no magic formula for everyone to be equally satisfied.

On the other hand, it is possible to create ways to meet some customer expectations. In this case, service automation with artificial intelligence is an excellent way to guarantee quick and humanized responses.

AI's ability to work at levels helps to speed up customer service as it collects, sorts, and responds. If she does not have the information available or, for some reason, it is not possible to respond, artificial intelligence passes it on to human service.

This helps to solve repetitive tasks that can discourage the team.

Encourage information exchange

This new model of work during the crisis can be a challenge for some people, so it is essential to monitor the team's productivity and encourage them to exchange information through the company's official channels (Slack, Skype, Gtalk, etc.).

Also, leaders must keep the customer care area informed of any changes that have a direct impact. Otherwise, the flow of support can be hampered and generate a loss for the business.

The team needs - and must - have the essential information for the digital service to be successful! 

At this point, artificial intelligence can also be a great ally, as it is possible to integrate it with tools such as Slack and facilitate the work of teams that perform internal service, as is the case with HR.

Perform team integration actions

To ease the day-to-day stress and keep the company's culture strong, it is worth organizing online events, such as the Happy Hour Virtual, a monthly action that we do with the entire Alana AI team. This is an excellent way to help the service team to disconnect from the challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

At Alana AI we have a very strong home office culture - including people working in other countries - so we are already used to online action, but team ceremonies and virtual meetings have made more difference than ever.

It is also a great opportunity to share knowledge and empower teams, as was done in the Ask Me Anything with Alana AI's CTO.


Exercise empathetic leadership

The timing is critical, so leaders must understand the importance of practicing empathy during the crisis. Some people will experience a drop in productivity and multidisciplinary follow-up is needed to find ways to help collaborators.

Being a leader does not mean keeping all the stress to yourself, quite the opposite. At this moment that is so harmful to the world, a communication channel is important so that managers can also be heard and ask for support when necessary.

The best way to get through the crisis is to walk with the team!

Count on the Alana AI team to help ensure that your customer service is fast and humane, so that your team can go through this period of crisis in the best possible way.


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