Amid this harrowing pandemic, businesses are facing a blizzard of calls, emails, and messages from concerned customers. And though teams continue to work remotely to address the inexorable requests, from the super exigent to the super..yes…usual, they can barely keep themselves immune to the anxiety and stress that follows. The stretched working hours are only making things more overwhelming. Besides the support reps, who are going out of their way to answer queries and offer people a semblance of clarity in this uncertainty, the customers themselves are, now more often than ever, finding themselves beyond reason and understanding. This seems intimidating — but for the world leaders, it is also an occasion to rise to the decimation of the regular order of business as we knew it.

Being enterprising amidst entropy

Dispiriting times are often the most revelatory. They have the potential to be the real fulcrums of change. COVID-19 might not seem just yet another example since the crisis is rapidly upending the world order in dramatic ways. But for your business, it could possibly be a diagram of an exponential leap towards more meaningful customer experiences. At this very moment, your customers need your unhinged solidarity and compassion. And your resilience through this vortex of change is principal to the success of your organization.

You might have your own creative ways of finding innovative solutions and crafting more meaningful customer experiences, but here are a few guidelines we are personally clinging on to, to shore up our teams, our business, and our brand image at large. Feel free to glean over.

1. Provide genuine care and support

In this era of social-distancing, people need guidance and information that can help them navigate the new virtual discourse. From keeping themselves and their families safe to getting work done online to helping their kids learn at home, they are seeking reliable, expert advice, and recommendations. They don’t want to buy from a business or brand until it is socially responsible and someone they can trust. Often, they are just too distressed to care for a transaction at all. As such, businesses need to proactively reach out to their customers with genuine support and care initiatives. Only the organizations that are capable of kindness and empathy in these exacting times will stay relevant over the long haul.

2. Increase investment in automation to scale support rapidly

Automation can help you and your business craft empathetic customer experiences on a rewarding scale. Collaborative, AI-fueled tools like chatbots, email bots, and voice bots can not only help your customer support teams speedily tackle overwhelming volumes of queries and alleviate their burden but also allay your customers’ anxiety, fears, and confusion by being available for them 24/7 with exactly what they need.

Conscientious businesses that are creating such AI- and tech-driven solutions or readily adopting them are gaining quick appreciation. Such solutions can help in more ways than one by providing correct and relevant information related to Covid-19, enabling self-diagnosis, offering relief and financial support, providing guidance on how to cope and take care of physical, mental, and emotional health, etc.

Building uplifting capabilities such as these can not only make a business relevant in the short term but also cement its place in customers’ good books long after the crisis has ended.

3. Anticipate your customers’ needs

Empathy is not just about saying you care, empathy is about anticipating customer’s needs and addressing them even before they have asked for it.

And even as AI can help automate your customer interactions on a magnanimous scale, it can still craft personalized and uniquely-tailored experiences for each one of them. What these AI chatbots do largely involves vast amounts of data mining from the large chat volumes pooling in from the various different conversation channels. The bots track the chats and options chosen by its users and create unique customer profiles that detail the customer’s intentions, buying behaviours, and motivation.

By leveraging accurate customer insights, an AI chatbot helps the support team make sense of the customer’s requests to provide them with relevant messaging and personalized recommendations, rather than confuse them or throw them off-track. Crafting such personalized, AI-driven experiences with an objective to inform only selectively and relevantly is now more urgent than ever when misinformation and fake news are threatening to leave people alienated.

4. Deliver correct answers drawing from up-to-date information

Information is fast becoming obsolete by the day. And the rapidly shifting times underscore the need for businesses to be agile to be able to drive superior customer experiences. You must ensure that your organization harnesses data more effectively and if, leveraging customer support tools like bots, should regularly keep updating them with fresh information to ensure accurate communication to customers. The best thing about using AI-driven solutions is they keep on collecting data and honing their capabilities indefinitely, by Machine Learning, and that is, essentially, key to crafting more meaningful customer experiences in this volatile time.

5. Triage customers’ needs based on priority and urgency of requests

As the pandemic presses on and the volume of requests keeps on expanding, prioritization is vital to creating successful customer experiences. Dedicating support agents to assist the most vulnerable customers who are experiencing the gravest impact of the pandemic and redirecting the rest to automated chatbots and voice bots can be a responsible move.

For instance, a health insurer could provide immediate assistance with a live chat option to the infected or hospitalized; everyone else who is still very much in the throes of the disease could be directed to an integrated chatbot. Triaging requests like this into high priority, medium, and low priority categories can help your business make more informed decisions and provide a better customer experience without straining your live support.