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4 key lessons from the frontlines of critical customer service

Critical customer service teams must be agile, responsive, and easily scalable—something that all CX leaders, no matter what issues they’re tackling, should strive for.

Por Alana Ramo, Staff writer

Última atualização em November 30, 2023

The vast majority of customer service isn’t critical, but that’s not the case for nonprofits working at the forefront of some of the most pressing challenges facing our planet and society today.

From connecting refugees with life-saving information to responding to survivors of domestic violence, these teams understand the urgency of a quick, efficient, and empathetic response. Moreover, they recognize the important role that tech platforms like Zendesk play in helping them to scale their limited resources, boost their efficiency, and ultimately serve more people.

Though most teams aren’t responding to populations in crisis, there are important lessons to be learned from those working at the very frontlines. Here are four ways that Zendesk’s Tech for Good partners are scaling and accelerating their ability to serve needy communities around the world.

1. Expand your reach with hyper-personalized support

Tailoring your tech to reach people in their local language and on channels they’re familiar with is an important step to unlocking new interactions.

The Signpost Project is an innovative digital platform aimed at helping crisis-affected communities around the world. It provides vital, often life-saving information in local languages to help people access services and make informed decisions.

Utilizing Zendesk’s multilingual support capability, Signpost created help centers in more than 20 countries—ensuring the broadest reach within 48 hours of any crisis. As a result, they expanded their operations tenfold in just three years. To date, Signpost has reached over 60 million people, earning it the distinction of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Campaign Award in 2023.

2. Use chatbots to boost the impact of small teams

Like any small support team, nonprofits must find creative ways to ensure that their limited resources don’t limit their impact. That’s why it’s so important to find tech solutions that can empower their employees and increase their reach.

For Spring ACT, an organization that supports survivors of domestic abuse, speed and scale are a must. By utilizing a chatbot, this dedicated team of nine full-time employees and about 80 volunteers is able to provide confidential, 24/7 support to survivors of domestic violence—no matter where they are in the world.

Known as “Sophia,” this always-on support channel instantly connects survivors with the information and resources they need to understand their rights, collect evidence, and get help.

3. Continually audit and update self-service resources

Self-service can be a helpful way to get information quickly into the hands of those who need it, but only if it’s updated and easily accessible.

By consolidating their resources into one place, The Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) streamlined the process for deploying life-saving assistance in an emergency. Here, volunteers can find updated information on organizational policies, training resources, and field equipment available for use.

When it’s time to move quickly, this self-service portal helps ITDRC reduce the burden on their team, eliminate friction, and ultimately be more effective in getting the job done.

4. Learn from your work

Tracking your efforts and analyzing the results can help service teams understand common issues and become more efficient.

For Urban Alchemy (UA), an organization that provides outreach and support to disenfranchised communities, being able to collect, route, and visualize data makes it possible for them to improve their response and scale their impact.

As part of their Los Angeles-based CIRCLE project, the team receives and responds to all non-violent 911 calls related to homelessness, mental health, and addiction. They rely on Zendesk to collect information on each call, route it to their medics on the streets, and then evaluate their results. Equipped with this valuable feedback, they’re able to better service their community as the project continues to grow.

Building a team that can meet any challenge

To meet the urgent needs of their communities, critical customer service teams must be agile, responsive, and easily scalable—something that all CX leaders, no matter what issues they’re tackling, should strive for.

Not sure where to start? Look to those where fast, personalized, and empathetic responses are mission critical.

Learn more about Zendesk’s Tech for Good program, which provides free software and expertise to nonprofits that address urgent social problems.

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