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Corona keeps Customer Service Centres busy

Date: 23/10/2020

Author: Anders Græsbøll Buch, Communications Consultant, JYSK

Category: Customer Service

This spring’s corona lockdown stopped a lot of activity but not for JYSK’s Customer Service Centres (CSC). They had the busiest time they have experienced yet. Now the pressure is lower, but CSC are still busier than normal.

Imagine a customer, who did not have his new office desk delivered at the right time. Then he calls JYSK and the phone queue voice tells him that the waiting time is around 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, it is finally his turn and he is more than upset about the service.

This was some of what Customer Service Supporter Leon Bach from JYSK Netherlands had to deal with during March, April, May and partly June. One call with an upset customer lead directly to the next upset customer, and the only thing Leon could say was sorry and in some situations offer vouchers or gift cards.

“It was terrible with so many angry customers and the workload we had. Every morning you just didn’t want to start. But I really liked my job before, and that’s why I stayed. Now things are better and so is my mindset,” says Leon Bach.

Heavy workloadCSC

When around 80 percent of the JYSK stores were forced to close due to corona in the spring, a big part of sales was made online instead, which caused many difficulties with delivery times. This resulted in the busiest time the CSC’s have ever experienced. For instance, the total number of e-mails that CSC received in April 2019 was 29,000, while it was 105,000 in April 2020. Phone calls almost doubled in the same period.

In the autumn of 2020, the workload is still higher than before corona, and Customer Service is trying to prepare as much as possible for the coming months with Black Friday, Christmas and possible new corona restrictions. However, predictions are difficult.

“We are looking at the option of hiring more employees or getting help from other departments. We also have new tools to send out mass information to customers that can save us time and work as efficient as possible,” says Tanja Ammentorp, Customer Service Director.

Extra help was needed

In the spring, various JYSK store staff and other service functions helped out. Often phone hours were shortened to make extra time to answer emails, and the learning from that period will be helpful in the coming months to get the customers directed into the most effective channels.

Internal Skype meetings and pizza evenings were also organised for the Customer Service Supporters to talk and have a laugh to outbalance the number of upset customers. A good plan will hopefully avoid the same number of upset customers in the months to come, says Tari ter Maat, Customer Service Manager in Netherlands and Belgium.

“We learned that it is important to prioritise tasks and getting even more structure by dividing the cases and having more standard replies ready. The supporters also learned to take more responsibility when they were working from home and couldn’t ask me quick questions all the time. I think this is one of the positive parts during a tough period,” says Tari ter Maat.

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