As every company in the European Union is well aware, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws came into effect in May of this year. Along with it came some pretty stringent requirements around communication, security, and compliance. If you’ve felt the weight of these regulations as so many businesses have, you might be frustrated by the impact it’s having on your customer service experience.
Even if your business isn’t in the EU and hasn’t been affected by something sudden and sweeping like GDPR, you might understand what it’s like to be under the watchful eye of a governing body. Healthcare companies, for example, have to adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and financial institutions have an array of regulations with which they must comply. Such regulations are usually put in place to protect the consumer (and often the businesses too), but there’s no question they can put a damper on your customer journey at the same time.
Here’s what you can do to maintain a high level of customer service and seamless customer experience, despite how many layers of regulations you have to deal with.
Emphasis on Transparency
First and foremost, make sure that your customers and prospects understand why you’re doing some of the things you’re doing. If you ask them to fill out in-depth paperwork that’s a hassle for them, be clear that this is part of your regulation compliance. If you have to take an extra security step with your online customer portal, make a note that it’s being done in order to meet certain security standards.
Being transparent in this way won’t remove the aggravation the customer experiences when they’re put through extra hoops, but it should help them to have a better level of understanding. It also levels the playing field and reminds customers that they’d encounter the same sort of regulatory factors if they went to a competitor. It also reinforces to your customers that you’re committed to meeting the highest compliance standards, which can foster more trust and confidence in you.
Accessible and Autonomous Customer Service
Second, more regulations usually mean you’ll have more customers asking more questions. Especially if your industry’s governing body has recently put new standards in place and this has disrupted the status quo your customers expect, you’ll likely face some confusion and complaints. The best way to deal with this is to prepare for it. Train your team on how to handle tough questions, and how to explain the regulations you’re complying with (and why they’re important).
Then, make sure customers have easy and quick ways to reach your customer service team. The last thing you want to do is put them through a circuitous path that will take up more of their time and not end in satisfactory answers. Consider enabling your website with live chat, if you don’t have that in place already, and make sure you have enough representatives to respond to customers via live chat, email, and the phone. If you need more customer service agents, even for a short period of time, we can get you set up with the right amount for the right time frame.
Also, give your customer team enough autonomy to help soothe customers’ worries as much as possible at the moment they’re speaking with them. They can’t bend the rules and your brand can’t afford to ignore regulations, but maybe your customer service representatives can grant a simple request to a frazzled customer on chat or give an angry caller a small discount. Even little gestures can go a long way in building goodwill with customers who may not be at their happiest.
Finally, take a look at your entire customer journey. What parts might be frustrating for customers? What parts might take up too much of their time, or require more money or energy than they’d like to give? Then look at what you can do to remove friction at these points.
While the aspects associated with regulatory compliance can’t be removed or skipped, think about areas in which you do have control. Maybe you can omit a step you’ve put in place that isn’t entirely necessary or offer an easier way for a customer to handle one of the required steps. Whatever you can do to save your customers time, money, aggravation or hassle will be worth it in spades.
Creating a completely flawless customer experience is not always possible, especially in the most highly regulated industries. We understand because we have firsthand experience gaining compliance with GDPR, PCI, Customer Data Privacy laws, and achieving our ISO certification. And our adherence to these standards helps us create policies and controls that consistently pass audits and keep our clients’ data safe. We can help you get in compliance with GDPR and other regulations so you and your customers can feel secure in your solutions, too.
The key is, you can still optimize your customer journey and make being your customer something that’s enjoyable, not unpleasant, or downright difficult. Take the steps above, and contact us if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you improve your customer service or adherence to regulatory compliance no matter how regulated your industry is.