The customer service industry was heavily affected when the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across the globe. Businesses had to tackle the complicated situation by doubling their efforts in meeting buyers’ and shoppers’ evolving needs and demands.
Complaints like delays in deliveries, limited inventories, and lack of after-sales support, among others, have only exacerbated customers’ concerns. That is alongside health issues and challenges regarding safety precautions, social isolation, and other pandemic-related adjustments.
Despite all these factors, there is some good news.
For one, modern technology has enabled help desk agents to operate from home. Nowadays, companies typically offer cloud-based customer support and omnichannel communication systems with suitable hardware and bandwidth for uninterrupted services. The situation calls for a rapid shift in business operations, but it can be manageable for organizations with the necessary infrastructure.
Customer interaction volumes continue to surge for businesses, especially with the shift to ecommerce (source: vessell.ph) . And with COVID-19 restrictions easing up, offline sales slowly but surely catch up with e-commerce. As such, new best practices are emerging as companies strive to improve their policies and systems. Indeed, customer service in a post-COVID-19 world may just as well get a revamp.
5 Rising Customer Service Trends and Challenges
Here are noteworthy trends and challenges you can expect as you navigate the pandemic’s after-effects:
- The transformation of customer service into a brand
Consumers are increasingly engaging with brands through customer service, especially in the online shopping space. With fewer in-person interactions, excellent customer service is a must in driving brand loyalty.
Customer care is more vital in the present than it was before since the stakes are substantially higher, with consumer expectations continuing to rise. This factor calls for brands to align their quality of customer service into something consumers can relate to. As such, you can expect many businesses to place a greater emphasis on this aspect moving forward.
- The rising emphasis on agility
Due to an unpredictable period, many enterprises now seek to increase the agility of their help desk. One known method for expediting ticket processing is the use of automated chatbots. Although some companies may hesitate to embrace this trend, it doesn’t change the fact that technology can help organizations become more agile.
E-commerce brands can turn to solutions like automation. These tools can help send email updates or create templated responses, allowing agents to free up time for more complex challenges.
- The need for businesses to accelerate their digital timelines
The digital transition is here, and companies had better take action. As such, decision-makers support acquiring new technologies to help their digital teams connect with online users.
On a global scale, more and more organizations are earmarking substantial funds for overall operational improvements. With most companies taking this route, beating the competition will be extremely challenging unless you integrate advanced technologies into your processes, too.
- The issue of data confidentiality
It only takes one negative experience for someone to leave and switch brands. Besides an unfriendly agent or staff, a delayed purchase, or a complicated return policy, data privacy can also send buyers out the door.
Consumers expect a customized service, but they are also becoming cautious in providing anyone access to their data (source: selectvoicecom.com.au). Businesses must explicitly describe what data they acquire and why. Keeping personal data confidential could mean the difference between keeping or losing clients. Those who take data privacy and protection seriously will almost certainly get a competitive edge in terms of credibility.
- The expectation for companies to lead by example
Economic and social disruptions brought about by the pandemic prompted people to rethink their values and what they expect from brands they interact with.
As there has been a drastic change in the way we live and communicate, it is no longer sufficient for enterprises to just deliver quick and satisfactory service. They must now also connect with their target audience on initiatives that matter to them—whether that’s sustainability, a diverse workforce, etc.—to strengthen customer engagement and brand loyalty.
Consumer data can reveal crucial information if you’re unsure where to start. You’ll gain a deeper insight into the factors that matter most to your clients if you take the time to learn more about them.
4 Best Practices in Customer Service Post-COVID
Indeed, COVID-19 has profoundly impacted people’s expectations of businesses. We recommend the following strategies to continue engaging your target audience as world economies and firms regain momentum.
- Reassess your target demographic
What used to be your perceived core audience may no longer resemble your actual target customer at present. Purchasing habits may have changed, or product demand vastly reduced. These shifts should inspire your team to redesign your products or services to meet the requirements of the current market. Examine everything that has changed and adjust from there.
- Continue to focus on health and safety
Many shoppers, especially the ones with health conditions, may be wary about totally resuming normalcy. When you continue operations, assure your clients of the continuity of safe and healthy processes. This is particularly necessary for retailers and food service establishments.
- Improve communication
Poor communication systems can cost the loss of clients. Shoppers don’t welcome shipping delays or other logistical problems, but if you take the time to reach out to them and, perhaps, compensate for the inconvenience, they won’t look at the issue as entirely negative. You may want to revisit and improve your company’s communication strategy.
- Gather market feedback
Take the time to determine people’s impressions of your company. Conducting research and surveys at this time is helpful. The perspectives of existing clients will remind you of what you did right during the pandemic, while getting the feedback of those who jumped ship will inform you of what to work on.
Customer service has indeed changed dramatically in the last couple of years. Each of these pandemic-related trends and challenges in customer experience is linked to one another. The key is to meet prospects and buyers halfway, understand their concerns, and provide solutions immediately. Check out this blog on EBCallCenter.com for more insights on customer service trends.