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Remote customer service is all of the ways that animal services can provide support for the community without requiring an in-person interaction between the animal care organization and the customer. These no contact services can be provided via telephone, texting, web chat, email, or video chat. By increasing efficiency and customer satisfaction, organizations can assist more people and animals, provide solutions and resources earlier, and return lost pets to their homes quicker.
Historically, in order to get help from an animal shelter, community members had to come, in person, to the shelter. This is often inconvenient, especially for people who do not live in close proximity to the shelter or do not have reliable, pet accessible transportation. Additionally, many services can be delayed while community members are awaiting appointments, finding time to get to the shelter, or awaiting a response. Using technology to increase remote customer service often reduces these delays.
Olivia had been eating out of a dumpster near a cafe when someone spotted her. She was spooked and ran down a ravine, getting caught in some briers. The cafe owner called the after hours line for Greenville County Animal Care and staff headed over quickly to help this scared dog. Olivia was taken to the shelter for medical care and she quickly found her new family. Thanks to the availability of an after hours support line, Olivia made it off the streets and to her new family in just one week.
If you need a starting point, here is a remote customer service checklist a list of services that you could provide remotely, or in person.
This is a partial list so please contact us if you have something that should be added to our technology library! Some technology platforms are very inexpensive at just a few hundred dollars per year, while others are more costly so you’ll want to consider how you will pay for technology you need. Eventually, using remote technologies will result in a decrease in staff time, so you should realize either cost savings or a neutral budget impact.
While most remote customer service options will save time in the long run, they may require extra staff and/or volunteer hours while you are getting started. Animal shelters are already complicated operations and a change from in-person to remote customer service can impact multiple areas of the shelter.
Communicate proactively and positively, letting people know you are working to streamline and improve your services to the people and animals who need your help.
Most technologies will allow you to see time spent per interaction (so you can potentially show a reduction in time per service) and the outcomes of the interactions.