How to Direct Your Customers During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Jacada discuss how supermarket chain Shufersal have been able to offer good contact centre service, despite of the coronavirus outbreak.

Famed psychologist Abraham Maslow outlined the five-tier model of human needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.

Only when a person’s lower-level needs are met can they move up the continuum of human potential. You may have been operating from an evolved state, an altruistic state even, before the coronavirus pandemic.

When people feel their base needs being threatened, like staying healthy and buying food, basic instincts kick in. As the world experiences a global shelter-in-place, grocery stores find themselves on the front lines of meeting people’s basic needs.

With social distancing now a reality, strolling up and down grocery aisles and chatting with your favourite butcher has become a fond memory. People were stuck at home, others didn’t want to leave their home at all. In preparation for a country-wide quarantine, stores were overrun.

Like many grocery chains around the world, Shufersal, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, continues to experience fierce digital traffic. Their team is working around the clock to fulfil increased demand during the coronavirus outbreak.

Shufersal helped customers place orders online (duh…) and lodge complaints with the click of a button. And they accomplished this seamlessly.

In a world where businesses hide their customer service phone number, Shufersal saw the value of boosting customer trust. They paved the way for online shopping with empathy. Customers will be quick to show their appreciation with their wallets and their loyalty.

Here’s what happy customers had to say:

“I filed a complaint about a product and uploaded a picture of the issue. Within seconds I was notified that my issue was processed.”

“This is saving so much of her time because she didn’t need to call Shufersal to file a complaint.”

They appreciate Shufersal for seizing powerful moments of customer experience.

So, when the country was in social distancing mode, it’s no surprise that Israelis rushed to place orders online at in record numbers.

What ensued is a lesson for us all in how to deliver great customer service and be a hero to your customers during times of crisis.

Customer Service Automation Drives Loyalty

In a perfect world, orders placed arrive on time. There’s no need for returns, refunds or any follow-up conversation with the retailer. If anything, the last few weeks have shown we don’t live in a perfect world.

Stuff does hit the fan, and as a business, you need to be prepared with a Plan B. In many cases, Plan B is called Customer Service. Yet, if you want to run your Customer Service as a profit centre vs. a cost centre, you must make it effortless.

Case in point: here’s how one Shufersal customer described their experience when they needed online help.

The customer sees a list of their grocery items; clicks the image; identifies the issue; uploads the image of broken eggs or squished tomatoes. A dedicated digital concierge receives the request. Then follows the action based on business logic, i.e. issue refund, resend. The system notifies the customer by SMS when Shufersal credits their account.

That’s what we call Effortless Customer Service. It drives up NPS and ensures repeat purchases.

Omnichannel CX Strategy as NPS Multiplier

It’s great to devise a process that benefits the customer and the business.

You create a multiplier effect when you give customers an option to use their channel of choice. Gartner refers to this as the “multi-experience.” Today, customers expect a frictionless experience regardless of channel, device or modality.

Case in point: it’s frictionless for the online shopper to send concerns about an order digitally. It’s also efficient for the business to process complaints without requiring a phone interaction. Shufersal didn’t stop there, though. They made this process available to customers:

  • Over the phone channel
  • From their mobile app
  • Over SMS
  • From the website
  • From emails

Greater channel choice and awareness, backed by a frictionless digital experience drove greater adoption.

It’s All About the Customer

Customer service automation on its own has gotten a bad rap. Customer operations leaders have been through the hype and disillusionment on chatbots.

This case study on Shufersal’s Digital Customer Service proves that automating customer service well is possible. Customers adopted it fast. It can be harnessed during mundane times and uncertain times.

To serve customers and grow customer relationships, remember to begin with the end in mind. Customer Service Automation is about Customer Service — not automation.

Jacada’s a proud partner of Shufersal. They use Jacada’s call centre software, which provides mobile self-service and visual IVR bots to help customers place orders, enquire on order status, track order delivery, lodge complaints and track the status of such complaints. All from the comfort of their chosen channel, device and modality.

Author: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 26th Mar 2020 - Last modified: 30th Sep 2022
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