Everything is moving along nicely with your company and then – out of nowhere – an emergency pops up. For some companies it could be their software is having login issues, but one emergency many companies are working through currently is the emerging concern and uncertainty created by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Events around the world are being postponed or cancelled, and it’s fundamentally changing the way people work and interact with each other.

So, how can your company minimize the impact of these emergency situations? Here are 5 ways great companies keep team members focused and morale high in these difficult times.

  1. Create 3-5 key talking points your team can fall back on – During an emergency, customers are calling, chatting, and emailing you in a panic. As leadership, it’s important to understand the situation immediately and give your team marching orders. Don’t write a word for word customer service script, instead provide a few talking points your team can use in conversations when they’re stumped. Phrases like “this issue is of the highest priority to us” lets customers know you’re aware of the situation and its urgency.
  2. Emphasize being open and honest with customers at the start – When the phones are lighting up with calls, have agents emphasize at the beginning of the call instead of the end that you only have a limited amount of time to inform and counsel them on the urgent issue because other customers are also looking for similar information. By setting an expected timeframe for the conversation, it lets a customer prioritize what they want to say instead of feeling they haven’t conveyed what’s important to them as time abruptly runs out.
  3. When in doubt, instruct agents to lean towards doing the right thing – Here at TeamSupport, we have a motto – “Do the Right Thing”. This should hold especially true in emergency and crisis situations with B2B companies. If a customer is angry and thinking about cancelling or postponing working with you because of the emergency, an agent should have the freedom and awareness to ask for backup or help. Don’t try to push people off the phones, do the right thing and keep customers happy.
  4. Reduce out of office distractions – During an emergency, your team needs everyone at their stations. If possible, depending on the severity, incentivize people to keep them there. Instead of breaking for lunch and having people go their own separate ways to run errands or other tasks, bring in lunch for the team. This not only helps in keeping people focused, but it also gives them an opportunity to socialize with colleague and share tactics on what is and isn’t working for dealing with the emergency. It also helps to improve your corporate culture, which can have a major impact on the customer service team.
  5. Take time to express gratitude and convey the impact of the work being done – When the emergency starts to settle down, have not only customer service leadership but executive leadership thank your agents and employees for their hard work. A small gesture such as a one-off teambuilding event or even bonus gift cards can hold more value than just a thank you. You’ve put hours and hours into finding team members and training them, is it really worth jeopardizing their happiness over a lack of appreciation?

To summarize, great customer service teams work through emergency situations by building a structure for the team to be successful and providing recognition for a job well done. Keep your employees top of mind during these stressful times – and ask yourself – how bad would it be to handle these difficult times without them?

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