How Customer Service Should Handle The 5 Most Common FAQs About Covid-19

On one side of the line there’s an impatient customer who’s been on hold for 30 minutes. On the other side there’s a service agent working from home who is struggling with a slow internet connection while simultaneously trying to look after their children.

Customer service departments are currently operating under difficult conditions. However, things aren’t exactly normal for customers either. The coronavirus pandemic is creating constantly evolving conditions and thus contributing to a lot of uncertainty.

Many e-commerce companies are recording an increase in sales as a result of the coronavirus crisis. For example, online pharmacies increased their sales by 88.2% in March alone, while online food shops saw turnover increase by 55.8%

For this reason, the customer service of companies has been affected by a sharp increase in the number of service requests. For businesses in the energy sector, customers have one thing above all else when it comes to payment difficulties and supply reliability: lots of questions!

Find out here why the consequences of the coronavirus are particularly noticeable in selected industries.

What you will learn in this blog post:

  • What FAQs are increasingly being asked in e-commerce
  • What customers of energy companies are frequently asking about at the moment
  • How organizations should respond to the rising number of questions about Covid-19
  • What current problems customer service can solve with FAQ automation

 

E-Commerce: What Your Customers Are Currently Asking About The Most

 

1. Delivery times and shipping

News of supply bottlenecks and delivery delays have not been rare since measures to combat the coronavirus were introduced. Customers often want to know when they can expect delivery before they make a purchase:

  • Where is my delivery?
  • How much are the shipping costs?
  • What are the delivery times?
  • Do I have to expect delivery delays?

 

2. Order and payment

Day-to-day life has been radically changing on a weekly basis since the outbreak of Covid-19, and the same is true for your customers. Imagine a situation where a family needed an additional laptop to work from home last week, but now one of the parents can return to their office. Inquiries about cancellations or changes to orders are therefore commonplace in customer service:

  • How can I cancel my order?
  • Can I alter my order later on?
  • How do I return an item?

 

3. Opening hours and availability

A small number of shops have been continuously open since the outbreak of Covid-19, others may now open gradually under certain conditions and some must still remain closed. The customers of companies that operate stationary retail outlets, e.g. technology stores, require regular updates on the availability and opening hours from the customer service team:

  • Have availability and service times changed?
  • Are stores still open?

 

Energy Industry: The Information Your Customers Would Like From You

 

1. Prices and consumption

Strict social distancing measures and lockdown are set to be relaxed step by step. Nevertheless, sustained restrictions have led to a situation where household members are spending more time at home. As a result, energy consumption in private households is likely to rise

What’s more, don’t forget that many customers are struggling with payment defaults or lower income due to reduced working hours or even unemployment. For this reason, people are more conscious of what they’re spending within their own four walls:

The customer service of energy companies is receiving an increasing number of inquiries about consumption and billing:

  • How is my energy price calculated?
  • How do I receive my annual consumption statement?
  • How can I record my meter readings?

 

2. Supply and crisis management

The coronavirus pandemic has meant the entire population has had to adapt to sudden and drastic changes in their daily lives. These far-reaching consequences for people’s lives are causing a great deal of uncertainty.

Many consumers are wondering how utility providers are dealing with the crisis situation and want to be sure that supplies are available even during times of crisis:

  • Have availability and service times changed?
  • Is the supply guaranteed?
  • Are utility providers prepared for crisis situations?

The sharp increase in volume poses many challenges for the customer service of e-commerce companies. Agents are faced with a daily influx of requests, response times are lengthening and time pressure is mounting.

As a result, it doesn’t take long for the quality of service in the contact center to fall by the wayside. However, since many customers have shared concerns and therefore similar requests, automation is an efficient way to overcome this challenge.

 

 

What Challenges Does FAQ Automation Currently Solve for Customer Service?

Although gradual improvements are already in sight, the effects of the coronavirus are expected to continue over the next few months. Your customer service will also keep receiving inquiries related to Covid-19.

Automation is particularly suitable for those repetitive questions asked by your customers. A list of questions with up-to-date answers is subsequently created. If a customer asks one of these FAQs about Covid-19, the question will be answered automatically – without the employee having to spend any of their time dealing with it.

The automation of FAQs on the coronavirus crisis delivers measurable benefits for your company, service team and customers. Last but not least, intelligent automation helps you to successfully deal with the following challenges:

 

Scalability

What’s one of the biggest difficulties for your service team? Answer: Major fluctuations in volume. Regardless of whether there are few or many requests per day, a service agent can only handle one person’s workload. Too many inquiries result in lengthy waiting times for customers and added stress for agents.

FAQ automation helps to effectively handle large volumes of requests and makes work in the contact center scalable. Whether 100 or 1,000 additional questions about Covid-19 per day, artificial intelligence always works just as quickly and reliably.

 

Speed

Anyone working in customer service knows that speed is the be-all and end-all. The reality, however, often looks different: studies show that it takes an average of 12 hours for customers to receive a response to their email under normal circumstances. In the worst case scenario, it can take as long as eight days.

Within eight days, the regulations concerning Covid-19 may have already changed. Especially now, your customers need rapid answers so that their consumer behavior is not altered. With automated answers to FAQs, you can eliminate your customers’ doubts and concerns within a matter of seconds, 24/7.

 

Continuity

Since your agents have to rapidly deal with tons of inquiries when working at home, it’s pretty much impossible for them not to feel overwhelmed and make careless mistakes due to the time pressure. Especially now, in times of uncertainty, it’s paramount you avoid misunderstandings and strike the right note in customer communication.

Reduce the workload of your service staff by automating a large part of the FAQs, which will enable them to offer excellent service at all times. Your AI will always respond to your customers’ Covid-19 inquiries in a friendly manner, with accurate information and without delays.

Test the parlamind quick solutions for e-commerce and the energy industry now and resolve customer inquiries about Covid-19 quickly, reliably and around the clock. Select the most important FAQs for your personal starter package now.

Do you have any questions? Get in touch!

 

parlamind is a Berlin-based start-up for Artificial Intelligence in Customer Service. The parlamind AI understands incoming messages from customers on a semantic level and thus determining intents, specific content and the mood of the customer in the message. Equipped with these skills, the AI ​​engages in customer dialogue independently and quickly carries out the associated processes. Latest research results from the fields of computational linguistics and machine learning form the basis for the continuous further development of parlamind AI technology. parlamind has been part of the 4TechnologyGroup since July 2018. The 4TechnologyGroup is an association of technology companies from the communications and AI sector. Today companies worldwide in the industries of e-commerce, information and communication technology, energy management, logistics and financial services use parlamind’s AI solutions. More than 20 employees work continuously on the further development and marketing of this unique technology “Made in Germany”.

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