Supporting customers during times of crisis

Whether you’re a large organization or a small company, good customer service is the hallmark of any successful business. Providing great customer service is what helps you stand-out from the competition, particularly during challenging times. We’re sharing our top tips to provide superior customer service today, tomorrow and post-pandemic.

    1. Leverage data to inform your strategy

    In today’s hyper-connected world, businesses of all types and sizes have access to data right at their fingertips. While data is often used to process orders, monitor the health of a business, or inform which products or services you provide next, it can also help inform your customer service strategy. For example, you can leverage available data to prioritize clients who may be impacted immediately by COVID-19 and proactively offer solutions to help them. You can also gain visibility from data into customers that may be impacted next to get in front of a potential issue before it occurs. If you can understand your client’s current situation, you’ll be able to deliver better customer service and help ensure your relationship outlasts the pandemic.

    Pitney Bowes frequently leverages data to inform our customer service strategy. For example, we leveraged available lockdown information state by state, industry by industry to anticipate the type of support our clients would need. We then proactively developed a variety of offerings to support different client segments and equipped our front-line agents with relevant information to provide greater service. Additionally, we were able to identify customers in areas with newly dispersed workforces and proactively offered complimentary access to services allowing them to do remotely what they had been doing from their physical office or storefront.

    2. Ensure you have a backup plan

    While no one could have predicted what 2020 had in store, it is always important to be prepared for the unexpected as many businesses’ customers rely on them even more during times of crisis. Is your team prepared for different ways of working? With many offices closed, employees are now adjusting to working remotely. It’s important to cross-train employees and have tools in place that allow you to continue business as usual. Many businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 and that could potentially include your suppliers. Do you have plans in place to serve your customers if your suppliers are impacted by the crisis? When building a business continuity plan it’s important to have a list of alternative suppliers and/or solutions to ensure you can continue providing customers the service and support they need.

    Our clients look to us to be prepared and be a partner for them, especially in a crisis. Over the past few years, Pitney Bowes has cross-trained customer support teams and enabled remote working protocols to support quick action when required. As some of our offshore partners struggled with their own country lockdowns, we were able to quickly mobilize our team to focus on the top priority-- supporting our clients. Thanks to our backup plans, we’ve maintained our call center service levels throughout this crisis and can continue delivering great customer service. So much so that, amid the pandemic, Pitney Bowes has been recognized by J.D. Power for providing “An Outstanding Customer Service Experience” for its Assisted Technical Support.1

    3. Show empathy for your clients

    A little empathy goes a long way. In times of crisis it’s important to listen carefully to customers and put yourself in their shoes to truly understand their challenges. Have their needs evolved only temporarily due to COVID-19? Or will their needs be longer term? Also examine your relationship with them. Are they a long-time customer? Or have they only recently used your services? Are they in good standing? Consider developing a variety of options to offer clients struggling during the pandemic. It’s important to note, while you have a commitment to your customers, you also must balance it with your business objectives. Be as flexible as you can, without compromising your business.

    Through a series of programs, the Pitney Bowes front-line support staff has been coached to balance empathy with business objectives. They’re able to ask the right questions to truly uncover the customer’s need. They also have access to a client’s history with Pitney Bowes. Based upon the client’s need and history, our team can offer appropriate, timely solutions.

    4. Put the client at the forefront of your communications

    Great communication is a key component of any solid client relationship. It’s important your clients know you are there for them, particularly during times of crisis. You might consider increasing the frequency of your communications to stay on their radar, offer your support, or provide helpful, relevant information. How have your clients’ needs changed? You can deliver a superior customer experience by anticipating their needs and ensuring they have information when they need it, or perhaps before they even realize they need it. This helps distinguish a good customer experience from great customer experience. By being one step ahead and anticipating their needs, you’re helping ensure your customer base will remain intact for the long term.

    When the pandemic hit, shipping and mailing was deemed an essential part of the economy. It’s at the core of the Pitney Bowes business and is a crucial component to the health of our customers’ success. As the situation continues to evolve, the USPS and other carriers are adjusting their service offerings. We’re committed to helping clients understand these changes and are communicating with them frequently. The pandemic has taken a toll on the economy and small businesses are feeling the impact. In response, we’ve also created The Way Forward for Small Business, an information hub with helpful tips, fact sheets, videos, and more to help small businesses weather the storm.

1. The J.D. Power 2020 Certified Assisted Technical Support Program was developed in conjunction with TSIA and based on successful completion of an audit and exceeding a customer satisfaction benchmark for assisted support operations. For more information, visit or

Jamie Cohen, Sr Manager, Product Marketing

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