The definition of customer service from the Oxford Languages is "the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services". Every business, from retail to doctor's offices, must decide how to address customer service. It sounds like an easy thing to do, but in reality, it’s not.
Has customer service changed during COVID? I would argue the answer is no, customer service is still the same, it is HOW we do it that has changed. For example, people may not be able to see your smile, but they can hear your smile! Even while wearing a mask, smile, talk a little louder and emphasize words more than normal. Customers will appreciate the kindness and happiness in your voice.
Get creative and find ways that work for your business to keep customers coming back. Be extra nice, extra patient, offer new types of services. If you always wanted to do private shopping, now is the time to start shopping by appointments. If you want to help someone fill out a form, schedule a zoom call. If customers do not want to come into the building, offer curbside pick-up. Customer service has always been about finding ways to make life easier for patrons, now is no different. If anything, it’s more important and many little changes can go a long way.
I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the elephant in the room, which is also the biggest change to customer service since COVID. How is your business going to deal with the new and changing regulations from the government and the health department? As we know there are varying opinions on this subject. During this COVID era, whatever you decide, know that it will affect your business. Following policies may gain customers, you may upset customers, and you may lose customers. As with all decisions, think about what is right for your customers, your staff, and you. The best customer service a business can provide in this situation is information. Make sure your customers know what to expect when they visit you.
How we do customer service may have changed, but to remain successful, the kindness and professionalism with which we do it should and will remain the same.