COVID-19 has devastated lives and livelihoods all across the world in a short amount of time. It has also prompted a reassessment of what customer care means for vulnerable people and the customer service teams that assist them. Examining customer journeys and satisfaction indicators to determine what consumers desire has suddenly given way to a pressing need to fulfill their requirements.
A customer’s encounter with a firm can have an immediate and lasting impact on their feeling of trust and confidence. As a result, companies have had to step up and assist customers who have many of the same demands as they had previously. Problems like long wait times and no opportunity to speak with a human agent have only escalated tremendously due to the increased e-commerce activities facilitated by movement restrictions.
Companies and customer care teams have done their best to satisfy consumer requirements and modify their offerings, for the most part. Some attempts have been successful, while others have failed. Insights from Awaken Intelligence’s study on common contact center complaints provide an opportunity to understand what consumers, particularly those using e-commerce services, want in times of crisis and beyond.
Digital natives see technology as an essential component of their daily life. They turn to their smartphones for immediate satisfaction when they need to solve an issue, receive an answer, or buy something. In many nations, e-commerce transactions have migrated away from luxury items and services and toward everyday necessities that affect many people.
As a result, internet shopping is exploding in popularity. Statista projects that the worldwide online economy will reach $4 trillion in 2020. In the United States, there were 263 million online shoppers in 2019. By 2024, this number is expected to rise to 282.7 million.
All of these figures show how much the contact centers in this business need to improve. Customer service in eCommerce is more than an add-on; it’s imperative for success.
Negative Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Customer Service Satisfaction
The following are common deficiencies that the public health crisis has caused customer service:
Wasted Opportunities to Connect with Customers
Since the pandemic, most individuals would say that customer service has become worse. Consumers are dissatisfied with having to call companies numerous times to resolve a single issue. In addition, people reported receiving automated messages that looped them in circles and never getting through to a human agent. In the end, many individuals were dissatisfied since representatives did not address their issues.
It’s easy to understand what may be causing these disconnects. Because service agents work from home rather than in service centers, their technology is unique, and they lack the regular network of on-demand assistance. Still, being inaccessible isn’t an excuse—especially when responsiveness sets you apart from the competition.
Long Average Wait Times for Calls
The pandemic caused significant product and service availability and delivery changes, resulting in a substantial rise in calls to contact centers. Whether consumers were seeking to cancel their travel plans, postpone credit card or loan payments, or trace deliveries, hold times were at an all-time high in 2020.
Organizations explored several strategies to deal with excessive hold times, from improving their self-service technology to recommending consumers to call during off-peak hours. Nevertheless, customers continued to call, and businesses that couldn’t manage the number of calls ultimately suffered.
Meanwhile, successful businesses have implemented call center analytics to ensure high-quality service delivery. As a result, customers can get on with their lives—work, run errands, keep the house running—while reps don’t have to deal with a grumpy client who has been on hold for half the day.
Higher Contact Centre Employee Churn Leading to Agent Inexperience
It’s annoying when a customer tries many self-service options without resolving their problem before contacting a live agent. Still, it’s much more aggravating when they speak with an employee who cannot offer them helpful solutions.
COVID has increased agent attrition, and newcomers require considerable training in customer service and an in-depth understanding of all goods and services. If customer support employees are unfamiliar with the product or service, they will not assist consumers. Therefore, companies should offer agents a comprehensive knowledge base that includes all pertinent information to resolve client issues.
Increased Need for Empathy and Concern from Agents
Because of the likelihood of further waves of the pandemic, the convenience of new purchase habits, learning costs, and the motivation for businesses to capitalize on investments in new sales channels, some of these changes in the e-commerce environment will most certainly be long-term.
A customer’s engagement with a business during a crisis may have an immediate and lasting impact on their confidence in and loyalty to a brand. As millions of people lost their jobs and withdrew into isolation, companies now rely on offering services that satisfy their new requirements with empathy, care, and concern.
When customers repeatedly identify a particular agent as rude or unempathetic, it’s time to assess that individual’s value to the company. Call center analytics software is a fantastic way to gather and analyze the data to provide such insights.