Mediocre customer service may be a thing of the past as COVID-19 forces companies to rethink their relationships with customers and embed quality service in their DNA.

Instead of standing down its employees, electricity and gas provider Red Energy redeployed 120 staff into the telephone customer service to support the increase in consumer queries.

“It was the right thing to do for our customers,” Red Energy CEO Iain Graham said.

“Many customers have ­appreciated the support and the interaction our customer solutions team have been able to provide during a time of ­uncertainty.

“Through the drought and bushfires, we provided financial assistance through bill credits to hundreds of customers who were impacted.

media_cameraThe pandemic has forced many companies to both rethink and re-evaluate their relationship with customers. Picture: iStock

“It was heartening and very Australian to see many of the customers we contacted who had lost property were more worried about their neighbours than themselves.”

Red Energy was recently listed as one of the top 10 Australian brands providing excellent customer service by KPMG and has won a Canstar Blue Award for Most Satisfied Customers 10 years in a row.

Marcus Kinna, who has been a customer service representative at Red Energy for nine years, said there’s a silver lining in this pandemic.

“I have been able to spend more time with my newborn baby Millie and my partner Hayley,” he said.

media_cameraMarcus Kinna with baby Millie. Picture: Supplied

“Balancing work and life isn’t always easy, but remembering to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and treat them how you’d like to be treated goes a long way.

“Interestingly our satisfaction scores from customers have gone up during COVID-19. I think customers have appreciated the fact we are local and going through the same things that they are experiencing.”

NRMA Insurance and Woolworths have also responded to new demands in order to keep customers happy.

“We quickly empowered a dedicated team to provide a range of support measures for customers experiencing financial stress,” NRMA group executive for Direct Insurance, Amanda Whiting, said.

“I’m proud of the dedication of our people in helping our customers through some of the most devastating crises Australia has faced.”

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said retail staff have worked incredibly hard to support the communities through the uncertainty of COVID-19.

“Keeping customers informed with clear, transparent updates on product availability was a vital part of our response, in tandem with doubling our online delivery capacity,” he said.

“We knew it was important to look out for our most vulnerable customers and ensured they could access what they needed through dedicated community shopping hours and prioritised home delivery.”

media_cameraBuy Australian is a News Corp Initiative – in partnership with Woolworths and Australian Made Campaign and supported by Red Energy – to help put money back in to our economy by supporting our producers, makers and manufacturers.

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