Coronavirus: How to Deliver Effective Customer Service with Reduced Staff and Budgets

Coronavirus has had a devastating impact upon businesses across the world and customer service teams. Sudden hollowing out in consumer demand and massive drops in revenue has meant inevitable layoffs - No matter how generous government grants have been. Staff have needed to self-isolate because of coronavirus symptoms. The move to homeworking has disrupted internal business processes, and inevitably led to a short-term decline in productivity as companies adjust. Mission critical homeworking tools like WiFi have seen a huge increase in demand and strain on providers. And, with people spending more time at home every day, they are taking the opportunity to solve concerns around the home from their boiler to that double-glazed window that doesn’t shut quite right.

Under this perfect storm of increased demand for customer service, but reduced staff and budget to deliver it, it is imperative contact centres and sales professionals find ways new, more efficient ways to provide customer service and grasp every sales opportunity that arrives.

Below we look at the key technologies that can help drive efficiencies in your customer service and sales team.  



The benefits of chatbots in terms of 24/7 coverage and reduced burden on your customer service teams is well documented, yet broad adoption is still relatively low. Many small and medium sized businesses feel that chatbots are a preserve of large companies. They fear that they will be extremely expensive to implement, will take a long time to set up, and they don’t have the in-house expertise to manage the chatbot from both a technical standpoint and the personnel to build the conversations that will make it a success.

These are extremely valid concerns, but ones that can be overcome to enable you to cheaply and quickly get an effective chatbot that is easy to manage. Working with a chatbot development company can resolve many of these issues.

Right Platform and Technologies - There are a multitude of different technologies available from Microsoft and Google and others, all with differing levels of complexity. A good development company will be able to look at your internal resources and decide on a platform strategy and set of tools that best suit your company – For example, if you would like to maintain the platform yourself but don’t have the in-house technical expertise, or if you want a solution with full support and maintenance.

Effective Conversations – Knowing how to build conversations with multi-media such as pictures, box selection, and videos is crucial for creating a better customer service, yet modelling these conversations takes experience, as does knowing which platform has the right tools and how to customize if needed.

In-house Integration and Customization – Chatbots are best as a compliment to your agents, if designed well they can handle up to 80% of your customer service requests, but then should hand over to an agent. Your solution should have tools in place not just to allow a customer to choose to handover but to proactively monitor when an agent needs to step in.

Customer Service Expertise – Siloed data is inefficient for your business; therefore, it is important to find a development company who has the capability and understands how to integrate it with your other business software.

Cost and Time-to-Delivery – Often it may feel like there are only agencies that want to build you a bot from scratch for a small fortune or platforms you have to be able to use yourself. This is not the case as it is possible to deliver a bot that can help you out in a short time without huge upfront costs.

Omnichannel Contact Centre Software

You may already have website chat, an inbound team for answering calls, SMS and email, but as an evolved solution inside separate software programs. This may have worked up to now, but with the move to homeworking making interaction between your teams more difficult, and the reduced personnel at your disposal, it is really important to be able to see all the interactions from a customer inside one customer journey record. Similarly, for your supervisors to see cross channel analytics will help them resolve issues faster.

Voice IVRs

Many of your customers still prefer to pick up the phone to call you. Traditional IVRs exist to route somewhere to the right department or at best an announcement. They are frustrating and often lead to customers giving up on your company or calling back irate determined to speak to an agent. A voice IVR integrated with chatbot technology can change this. Customers can ask more specific questions quickly in their own voice and get tailored answers. Like a chatbot, a well-designed voice IVR can resolve a high percentage of customer service questions, before an agent is needed. This significantly reduces the burden on your agents and crucially doesn’t leave your customers in a queue waiting to speak to someone.

Live Chat

If you are presently only handling customer service by telephone, live chat can add significantly improve your sales and customer service. Messaging is actually the first choice of many consumers and being able to reach out to them and answer their question immediately can make the difference between a purchase or not. Similarly, for customer service messaging is much less frustrating if a customer has to wait in a queue. It is also extremely cost-effective as your agents can handle several chats at once.

Video Customer Service Resolution

Reduced budgets and personnel mean the need to reduce field visits for customer repairs and improve first call resolution. Remote visual assistance software is a new tool that uses video to help resolve customer service requests. It allows your customers to show their problems in real time through their smartphone camera. Your agents can zoom in, capture details and provide AR onscreen pointers.

Cloud and Collaboration Software

A move to the cloud for your call centre or telephony solution will also reduce costs and facilitate easier homeworking. As will the introduction of business collaboration software. If you are interested in knowing how to maximise homeworking productivity you can do so here.


About Hostcomm

Hostcomm helps companies reduce costs and improve their customer service, outbound sales campaigns, data security and internal employee interaction. Our solutions include omnichannel contact centre, voice, video, live chat and chatbot functionality. They are hosted, modularised and scalable.

Hostcomm has more than 15 years’ experience in providing hosted telephony and contact centre services. We have our own PCI-DSS certified data centre, we provide unlimited telephone support through our UK customer service centre and we have a 5 Star rating on Trustpilot.

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