Customer service tips for COVID-19

When business is good, customer service is important.

When a pandemic has upended business as usual, customer service becomes critical.

With various health and physical distancing measures to manage, business restrictions and new norms, it’s easy to put seemingly less urgent business practices on the back-burner. After all, we are all doing our best to cope with COVID-19.

I’m sure we’ve also all heard coronavirus customer service horror stories: those who refuse to follow rules around masks, for example, or those who run out of patience and take it out on staff.

While there should be no room for rudeness, practice owners should consider making room for empathy in their interactions with customers.

This article in My Customer offers 10 ways to handle customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include communication, transparency and setting proper expectations. On this last point, I recently wrote in INVISION Magazine about the need to share new practice rules and procedures with patients before they show up for their appointments.

One suggestion in the My Customer article that stood out to me in particular was the recommendation to listen and be empathetic. Customers may be anxious. Patients may feel annoyed that they had to reschedule an appointment. Families may feel overwhelmed as they prepare for what is bound to be an unusual school year.

Letting your staff know that it’s okay to take the time to hear customers’ concerns can help foster greater client loyalty over the long term. Lending an empathic ear can mean the difference between a patient who postpones coming in, and one who feels prepared and confident to come into your practice.

The principles of kindness, clarity and honesty are customer service practices to aspire to every day.

In a period of heightened anxiety and uncertainty, these basics can go a long way toward helping address customer service issues and easing any customer concerns.

Check out this list of 10 ways to handle customers during the pandemic.