If caught off guard due to surge in demand, emails, queries or logistic issues, don’t blame it on COVID and assume customers will forgive and forget, they have moved on to another brand. Brand loyalties have been extremely fickle and consumers have tried new brands giving up loyalties very easily.

What not to do

If companies cannot cope up with demand or tweak their way of working during the past 90 days, then they are not agile enough or their sales and resource forecasting have failed them.

We understand that bikes are the new toilet paper during this summer, but if a franchisee cannot handle 3,000 calls or 1,000 emails/day while operating multiple franchisees in nearly 2.5M Greater Toronto Area, and send auto emails mid June regretting late replies. Do not miss this opportunity as 3000 unanswered calls are a bonanza for competition.


When customers took their shopping lists online during quarantine, they brought their questions and concerns with them. But retail’s customer service channels simply can’t keep up, the WSJ reports.

  • Lululemon service calls are currently 2x–3x greater than usual, if their stores located in Malls are shut, why can’t 20% of the retail sales force be re-deployed remotely as a customer facilitation VoIP or chat channel and funnel sales toward online.
  • Best Buy admitted it’s behind on responding to a deluge of customer service requests.
  • Macy’s issued an apology for longer-than-usual wait times on its customer service hub.

The backlog was unavoidable. Online sales rose 77.8% in May, per Adobe Analytics. That spike outstripped the resources retailers had allocated to digital customer assistance, leading to a Help Center bottleneck and lots of angry tweets.

Simple solution to redistribute store staff to customer service staff, proactive companies treat this as an opportunity, like Wayfair adding 500 customer service employees to its payroll and Ikea is bringing furloughed workers back for customer service roles.

This opportunity is not only to retain customers, but eat into competition share also. Engaging customers goes a long way and taking three months in re-allocating resources is simply too slow.

Interact with customers, to help them be part of their solution not their problem.

Reach out to these customers, open up multiple touchpoints, each having its own pros and cons. Web chat is great to pre-qualify a lead or a problem, one on call always helps, but have long waiting times, can we do call back feature? With so many technologies out there, scaling and engaging is not an operational, but a mindset issue.

Business to Business Supplier Uline works on extremely prompt customer services, answering incoming calls on two bells, no wait times etc. Nowadays this is a great customer acquisition strategy and has a great ROI also when compared to Life Time Value of customers.

Get to know what customers really want, get the real insights before decision making.

Retail Brew

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