9th March 2021
When the Covid-19 pandemic started a year ago, many businesses were overwhelmed with customers seeking help or information. The media was filled with horror stories as governments, airlines, and banks all struggled to keep up with demand as their contact centre agents all transitioned to work from home.
That was a year ago, but the volume hasn’t declined. In fact, research indicates that many organisations are now facing a 40% increase in customer demand. How do organisations maintain acceptable service levels in the face of this increase
It’s a serious problem that brands need to be on top of. Brand reputations can suffer if customers experience a dramatic decline in service standards. And consumers are tired and distrustful of the ‘Covid excuse’ now.
It is simply not sustainable to blame the pandemic for poor service. Customers know that organisations have had a year to adjust and to cope – they will no longer accept hollow excuses. Repeat contacts, escalations, complaints and misrouted contacts all end up as noise that is often unnecessary. Up to 60% of customer contact volume can be categorised as ‘noise’ by some of the organisations we have engaged with.
Contact centre management has changed dramatically in the past year. Whether managing contact centres in-house or working with an Outsourcing Service Provider, organisations have been forced to adopt work-from-home as a major new part of their operating model, as well as more reliance on digital and automation in the customer journey. This has led to changes in management and communication processes that has created a very different customer service environment to what we were all used to prior to 2020.
But with change comes opportunity. Many contact centres are now able to hire from anywhere – ‘geography is history’ as they say – and this can dramatically improve the quality of staffing pool available – focusing skills on brand knowledge and even finding fans of the products being supported. Automation is also improving and many customers are now very comfortable interacting with chatbots and natural language interfaces, and similar tools, thanks to their experience with Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Home. A wave of digital transformation is approaching and every customer service leader needs to be aware of how it will affect their business.
But there is also a need for immediate action. Managing customer interactions will certainly evolve to include more self-service and automation, but the immediate issue is this dramatic growth in non-productive noise. Watch our webinar recording to hear what you can do to reduce the noise right now.
Watch a recording of our live webinar session that took place on March 11 2021 – click here
Author: Mike Havard, Director of Davies Consulting
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