Management InSites

Servicing Your Customers from a Distance During COVID-19 and Beyond

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  • Building Relationships During COVID-19

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When providing service for your company’s products is an integral part of your model, it can be challenging to adjust to a time when in-person contact is not only frowned upon, but even prohibited in certain parts of the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left companies wondering how they can continue to be valuable to their customers when they can’t come within six feet of them. While it is unclear how long we will all have to remain somewhat isolated to remain safe, it is clear that firms need to adjust to the situation, or be left quickly behind by others who do.

First, it would be wise to consider the following questions as you evaluate how your company can address servicing customers remotely:

 

4-way panel with text

  • In the short term, it might be possible to provide “service calls” over video chat. If a technician can assess a problem through a video call, and provide guidance to a customer who can attempt to fix the issue in real-time, then your company is still providing value, and is being safe in the process.
  • Not all problems, however, can be fixed by an untrained person – even with the guidance of an expert watching over them. For these cases, it might be necessary to explore what technologies exist that can make remote service calls possible. Does your product need to be modified to allow for this? Does your price-point need to change to accommodate for this issue?
  • Another consideration is cyber security and the potential threat of hacking. If you’re coaching your customer through a very complicated service issue, a hacker could theoretically gain access to confidential information about your product, simply by surreptitiously logging into your call. Investment into increased security might not only be important, but essential to keep your company secure.
  • Finally, airlines have been upfront about how the pandemic is affecting their bottom lines. As a result, several flights have been canceled, and certain routes are being discontinued. Even if safety measures relax, what might have been an inexpensive flight to visit a client might turn into a costly trip requiring additional time due to connecting flights and higher fares. While higher costs might be acceptable when visiting customers generating profitable high-volume business, it is not sustainable across the board. Rethinking how your service department interacts with your clients will be essential for your company to not only stay afloat, but also to thrive in this new world.