Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crisis Mode - We're Here To Help

Your system is down. It’s a client’s worst nightmare. And your clients are clamoring to get in touch with you wanting to know:

1. Why your system isn’t working
2. What is being done about it? And more importantly
3. When it will be back working!

There’s nothing pleasant about this situation for our clients. But reacting in a professional manner is paramount to maintaining solid and healthy relationships with their customers.

Our most memorable experience of receiving an "avalanche" of calls was the July 2007 storm when electricity suppliers experienced major power outages. The storm was so bad some customers didn’t get power for days on end. Getting connected was a priority. But connecting with customers in the immediate hours after the storm hit was the first task at hand.

Usually we receive around 2,000 calls across our electricity retailer and power supplier clients. The day of the storm we received more than 10,000 – and that was just the customer we spoke with! Other customers who rang to let us know they had no power in their area were given information automatically through a prompting system which let them know that electricity in their system was down and what was being done about it.

While we can’t speak to everyone on the day (if we did we would have had to take hundreds of thousands of calls!) our clients knew we could take care of everyone’s needs by prioritizing calls needing immediate attention and giving necessary information to all other callers.

Customers in danger because of the threat of live wires, fire or property damage were asked up front if their situation was an emergency, meaning we could get to them first. Prioritizing calls is essential in times of crisis.

For the next few days agents were fixed to their seats and there was a real buzzing atmosphere in the office. It took over the whole business, not that our other clients knew. It was business as usual for our other clients who still had their dedicated staff looking after their needs.

Penny Calder
General Manager

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