The Key Pillars of Stellar Customer Service During Crisis

Customer service is a powerful tool to drive profitability. 

It becomes even more crucial and elemental when crisis strikes. 

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all organizations irrespective of their size. It has disrupted supply chain networks, industries, and livelihoods and has forced organizations to re-evaluate the new normal.

With remote work and distributed work environments moving from ‘the new normal’ status to just normal, the world of work becomes a melange of connected systems and data. 

As organizations re-calibrate to get back on the path to profitability, providing an enhanced customer experience – to both internal and external customers – becomes a business imperative to emerge unscathed from the impact of this crisis. 

Since existing customers are the best bet to stay on the path to profitability in the days to come, the increased focus on customer service is undeniable. 

Here are the key pillars that help in delivering exceptional customer service, especially during a crisis. 

Customer empowerment 

Driving an elevated customer service experience, especially in times of crisis, begins and ends with customer empowerment. 

To drive such customer service experiences, organizations have to increase their capability to resolve customer issues, concerns, or questions on the first contact. 

  • Providing an omnichannel support experience has now become critical as customers want to engage through the communication channel of their choice, be it web, email, chat, or social media. 
  • More importantly, organizations now have to enable and empower their customers by providing them with self-service options. By using the knowledge content and interacting with experts and other community members, customers should have an option to find answers to their questions. 
  • To comprehensively manage the customer experience, customer empowerment has to include robust knowledge management capabilities to improve first contact resolution. Organizations have to develop their capability to create multiple knowledge bases. These knowledge bases can provide key information and assistance via knowledge management tools, communities, or service catalogs to help customers resolve their most common queries without contacting customer support teams. 
  • Virtual agents can be an important tool to improve and elevate the customer service experience. Conversational guidance provided by a chatbot can drive pre-defined conversations and help customers resolve queries faster while facilitating conversations. Several frequently asked questions can be easily and quickly resolved using virtual agent chatbots and help the customers troubleshoot faster. 
  • Customer empowerment is also dependent on employee empowerment. Employee-facing, searchable knowledge bases can help customer service agents resolve queries faster and give even new-hire agents the capability to resolve incidents without having to defer it to other, more experienced agents.


What separates good customer service from great customer service? The answer lies in ‘Intelligence’. Intelligence is the pillar that provides pivotal support to drive stellar customer service experiences. 

  • Intelligent automation feature in a customer service solution can help organizations automatically assign work items to agents based on their availability, capacity, and skills and route the case to the agent best suited to solve the case. 
  • Predictive Intelligence can make case creation easier and search functionalities more contextual. Leveraging Predictive Intelligence for case management also makes it easier for agents to create cases using minimal information, such as the short description, and predict values for the category, priority, and assignment group to improve resolution timelines. 
  • Instilling intelligence in virtual chatbots drives a more elevated self-service experience as the chatbot then can simulate conversations or messaging interactions that a human agent would typically have. By enabling the system to respond to human-expressed intent, virtual chatbots can provide more relevant answers.
  • Intelligence can also be used capably to improve resolution timelines and deliver greater service experiences by proactively enabling better personalization opportunities and identifying customer issues before they arise. 
  • Intelligence gained from AI and predictive technologies can help organizations gain deep insights into consumer behavior with respect to products and services. With the help of these insights, organizations can inform and advise resolutions before they occur. Intelligence built into Customer Service Management applications helps customer service agents resolve issues faster, and before customers even know about them. 
  • Operational intelligence makes issue resolutions more proactive as it detects and informs users on how to handle potential risks or issues well in advance and improves the entire customer experience.

Collaboration through Integration 

Stellar customer service experiences cannot be delivered if various departments in the organization operate in silos. Collaboration is essential to drive an elevated customer service experience, and organizations have no option but to enable that. 

End-to-end customer service integrates the various systems and people within the organization and helps organizations build the infrastructure needed to drive incomparable customer service experiences. 

  • Customer Service Management applications need to have robust integration capabilities to drive holistic experiences. Integrations with field service management, for example, can help organizations create work orders for customer service cases, add case information to work order forms, and create work based on technician skills, availability, and inventory. 
  • Integrating Customer Service Management with the Incident, Problem, Change, and Request Management applications and other departments of the organization such as finance, legal, HR, etc. make case resolution faster and more impactful by connecting customer service agents with the right departments. It also helps customer service agents locate issues and effectively resolve them promptly, thereby taking customer satisfaction scores northwards. 
  • Connecting customer service agents to other teams and departments helps organizations deliver high-quality, seamless, and effortless service interactions leveraging complete customer information. Customer service agents can better identify and assign issues directly to field service, finance, engineering, operations, legal or other departments and also track those issues to resolution. 

In Conclusion 

Speed and quality of interactions are of immense value when customers want to resolve issues. This becomes even more important during a crisis because then, time is of crucial essence. While the customer service is to resolve customer issues, it can be used as a venerable tool to drive elevated customer experiences and, ultimately, business profitability. 

After the successful implementation of ServiceNow CSM, 7-Eleven saw a 93% reduction in case volume, 205% increase in resolution rate, and 1860% faster response time. This set the stage for the company’s survival during the COVID-19 crisis! (Source)

Connect with us to learn how to power up your customer service operations with modern tools like ServiceNow CSM and deliver delightful customer experiences. 

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