Serving Customers in the Face of Crisis: Redux + NEW AUDIBLE VERSION

Khoros Alumni (Retired)

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The digital world is no stranger to crisisCrisis.png It started with the .com bubble, Y2K, and any number of brand social faux pas. What effect this has on a brand depends heavily on how robust the brand’s marketing, community, and customer care systems are. In an age when everyone can be a video journalist or digital columnist, a brand’s simple mistake can end up costing hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. 


Even when brands are in crisis and damage control mode, the wheels of business keep turning. This fact is especially true in the diverse world of customer care. For example, a company spokesperson makes a Freudian slip in a viral interview. Next, a group of people, through the power of social media, band together to make hundreds of calls to your contact center and tweet thousands of times to your brand in a day to display their disdain for your brand. This group of people bottlenecks your agent’s ability to help any of your “normal” customers who still need support. 

Of course, the simplest solution is to unplug your phone system and focus all efforts on damage control. While this might save some face in the short turn, not reinforcing your care systems will affect more than just a few angry customers on Twitter.

Look no further than above your head into the world of commercial travel for a real-world example of crisis mode care. Every day, thousands of flights take off and land; unfortunately, in recent times, thousands of flights have been canceled globally. At the time of writing, international and aviation-based travel has exploded to nearly 180% compared to 2021 levels. On top of the increased demand, major airline employee strikes have decimated staffing levels across Europe. It’s fair to say that airlines are in crisis mode currently. 


How has this crisis mode ended up with major airlines across the globe? Some of the lowest rated NPS score across digital care, the longest TAR, and the poorest agent health. According to the New York Times, some people who attempted to contact an airline’s customer care team reported waiting on hold for 275 minutes


Of course, some airlines nail digital care, and other industries facing backlash can still provide excellent customer care. These brands share a common thread that customer care systems widely center around being digital first. Here are the three fundamental ways they were able to keep their customers happy during a crisis.

  • A Focus on Agent Health with Digital First

Many people would argue that being a customer care agent is widely a thankless job. It’s stressful; agents face unpredictable hours, and generally speaking, customers only contact the care team when they are facing problems or issues. 

Now mix in a time of brand crisis. Using the above example of an angry group of people clogging your customer care channels, your agents will have even less bandwidth to answer actual customer questions. This will lead to a lower NPS, wasted time, lower revenue, and a much higher agent attrition rate. Using digital care first, customers can get their answers handled by chatbots, self-service, and community. When their questions need to be elevated to a live agent, A.I. can auto-fill important information, detect customer sentiment, and be used any way your brand sees fit to improve agent health and efficiency. 

  • Unclog Your Care Channels 

Because of the one mistake by the brand spokesperson, your contact volume across all digital and traditional channels has exploded. As mentioned above, during a crisis, your brand should expect an explosion of volume. Now, if all customer contacts are legitimate customers will depend on the brand and the crisis. However, it’s fair to say that you can still use a digital-first filter the channel clogs versus customers with honest questions. A lot of the unclogging of your care channels can be solved via, queue-configuration or how customer questions and requests filter into your Care instance. 

A seriously effective method is to enable Push Next. When enabling Push Next in your Care instance, it automatically pushes a new customer request to your agent rather than them choosing what ticket or request they want to tackle instead. 

The Khoros effect

Khoros was built on the premise that digital-first would be the tool that the future of customer care will use. No matter what crisis your brand has the misfortune of stumbling into, the Khoros Care platform can be used to reinforce your front-line workers to defend your brand from the ongoing crisis, your normal customers, and your NPS scores. 

To explore more how Khoros and help defend your brand during a crisis and improve efficiency visit these Atlas Resources Below!