What do you do when there’s a problem?
Building customer service at scale requires process, chiefly the establishment of roles, responsibilities, and an plan to activate in times of crisis. What do you do when there’s a problem with your product or service and how will you communicate with your customers to let them know what’s going on?
This doesn’t have to be a phone book of IS09000 process, but it should include the following ideas:
- Process – what’s a “back of the napkin” idea for the way information flows within your system? How do customers contact you? What do you do when they contact you? And how do they know that an issue is finished?
- Roles – for each person in your process, what role do they play and do they understand that role? Is the role primarily internally or externally facing during the regular functioning of your business, and does it change during a crisis?
- Responsibilities – for each role that a person plays, are the key responsibilities spelled out in plain english (e.g. “communicate to our customers every 30 minutes on a particular communication channel having this basic message and format”)?
- and finally, what’s the plan – how will you know that a crisis is happening; what’s your definition of the types of problems you might occur, and how will you communicate “Commander’s intent” – what’s going on, what are the goals, why do we think it’s important, and what are the basic guardrails to getting there?
This video with former U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal shares his philosophy of communicating in crisis, and is an excellent first step to understanding what your own crisis communications might look like (and maybe some of your every day communications as well.)