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It’s safe to say that no one anticipated how 2020 would evolve. The impact of Covid19 means that organisations are having to strike the right balance between business as usual and adapting the business environment to meet current conditions. When we hear the term ‘frontline’ in the current climate, we are inclined to think of healthcare staff, supermarket staff or other essential workers. But what people tend to forget about are the customer service representatives that are working remotely or working from busy contact centres that often operate 7 days a week.  

Contact centres are playing a pivotal role as they are committed to keeping organisations connected with their customers. With pandemic related closures, contact centres are experiencing some unpredictable times. 

Take into consideration the large retailers that have been forced to close their physical stores but in response have stepped up their eCommerce game. This has led to shoppers moving from their natural habitat of roaming the high streets to browsing online. Consumers have really started to embrace online shopping which probably explains why they are now on a first name basis with their delivery drivers! All the usual online factors such as user experience, online customer support and after sales support will now have a much larger impact on brand perception as it’s the only point of contact for the time being. 

But who is at the other end of the channel answering shoppers queries? Often, it is a customer service representative based in a contact centre that manages these types of queries. Organisations are now recognising that the front line agents are becoming the most important interface with their customers. Online shopping is something that many people may have not dabbled in prior to the pandemic. Therefore, the role of customer service representatives cannot be underestimated. They are striving to exceed customer expectations and provide them with a seamless online shopping experience. 

Arema Connect has first hand experience in eCommerce support. Across our channels we carry out a number of services to facilitate the end to end customer journey on a 24×7 basis. These include:

These services are carried out across email, live chat and telephone answering services. We also provide multilingual support to provide a harmonious experience for our clients’ customers around the globe. Our team includes French, Irish, German and Spanish speakers. 

eCommerce support is one of our core services at Arema Connect. Offering this service all along meant that we were prepared to scale up to support the expected increase in volumes. 

As a result of business closures in the current climate, organisations are finding themselves abandoning their telephones. However, that doesn’t stop customers from actively seeking information regarding your business and the services you may offer. It’s paramount that your customers are still cared for and organisations are now coming to understand that customer service representatives, the front-line agents, are the ones that are holding the keys when it comes to keeping clients’ customers happy and retaining them through this time. Arema Connect are providing call answering services for a range of sectors including healthcare, retail, finance and utilities. We are handling calls during office hours, after hours and on an overflow basis. We are answering calls on our clients’ behalf, giving them the flexibility to prioritise their workload while ensuring that their customers are looked after. 

After 3 months of not having the luxury of getting our hair done, our dishevelled hair and dark roots are crying out for a hairdresser and certainly in need of some TLC. Now that hairdressers and barbers have opened in Ireland, are they prepared to handle the heightened demand and the increase in call volumes? How can they ensure they answer every call and respond to every enquiry? Contact centres can assist in supporting this demand by providing an overflow answering service, whereby calls are diverted to the contact centre when the business is experiencing a high volume of calls. This ensures that a call is never missed and the customer doesn’t find themselves getting frustrated from trying to ring countless times! 

Perhaps the fastest way of communicating with your customers during this time is via digital channels including social media and live chat functions. Should customers have any queries, they may take to social media and live chat to seek the relevant information. In our experience customers predominantly use live chat as a support channel when purchasing online. Arema Connect’s live chat service is a quick and efficient way to support your customers to drive both sales and brand loyalty. 

Contact centres can also support an organisation’s social media platforms. This involves monitoring and managing all incoming Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts. Arema Connect have provided this service on a 24/7 basis for one of Ireland’s largest retail brands. 

On a final note…

As this ‘new normal’ establishes itself, the way we deliver customer service will need to quickly move to a new operating model. Contact centres usually have a better level of flexibility and scalability combined with the appropriate technologies to help organisations manage these peaks in demand. As we gradually start to come out of this crisis, we still can’t predict what the future will hold. All organisations, big or small should consider outsourcing to a contact centre to ensure continuous service delivery in times of uncertainty. 

About Rachel Caulfield – I have studied marketing for 4 years in Munster Technological University. As part of my undergraduate degree I was lucky enough to receive an internship in Arema Connect. I was given the opportunity to work as an intern in the marketing team to get a greater understanding of marketing in a business to business setting. This gave me an invaluable experience and I got to put the knowledge that I acquired from my degree into practice. From creating content on social media, to writing blogs, I am passionate about all things marketing. In November 2020 I graduated with a first class honours in my Bachelors degree of marketing. I am now pursuing a Masters in Food Business and Innovation to further develop my skill set.