Evolution of Customer Care Centers in the Face of COVID-19
The Expectations of Consumers From Customer Care Centers Have Started Going Back to Normal too; Companies Digitalizing The Structure
According to a study by KPMG regarding the changed consumer trends, people are trusting brands and retail lesser than before. People came in contact with local vendors more, where they experienced better and personalized service. “This trust has eroded with a significant decline compared to W1 (-10 percent for grocery, -8 percent for non-grocery). Net trust is now negative for both sectors,” the study states. The economic impact, the trend of going digital, and brand trust were the most influential factors in the new market. E-commerce sustained well, not only for the safety reasons, but also because they were offering better prices and supporting local brands. All this led to rise in expectations of people as consumers; their priority was convenience.
Issues Faced by Customer Care Centers
While this was the case of the overall market, consumer care centers faced unexpected surge. There was a hike in overall incoming call volume, and a lot of effort in getting used to the new management system and work from home (WFH). Consumers resorted to online buying and e-commerce for all kinds of needs. But the goods/product delivery management was not as prepared for the situation, resulting in delays or bad quality of service. Customers were also frustrated with repeating themselves (a general mindset like “why ‘press 1’ for any query if we have to say it again in the end?”). Even if the concept of self-service (chatbots, FAQs, etc) existed from before the pandemic, there was a relatively higher dependency on humans for customer care.
Adaptive Changes Done by The Centers
Businesses have been outsourcing the customer support since a long time now. It helped them cut down on costs and get a diverse workplace. To cope up with the issues, a number of companies started hiring more, but from various local and distant locations. This helped companies; people from different backgrounds are now involved in helping consumers. Many customer care centers also empowered their agents, i.e. the employees/agents won’t have to rely on higher authorities for resolving issues in real-time.Agent Empowerment also reduces the need for micro-management as the employees would have a certain liberty in working.
Companies adopted disruptive business models and legacy modernization, so that employees won’t have any accessibility issues and they could work uninterruptedly on their smartphones as well. Many big companies like Amazon (AWS) also opened up a COVID-19 helpline for their customers and employees, both online and via helpline number, using their resources for building better customer trust.
What’s new after the Pandemic?
According to Forrester, a customer would more likely self-serve than call any companies for help. Responding to the call of restructuring the CRM model, companies thought of resolving the queries without human engagement. Companies inclined towards investing in digital technology to deal with the data. So instead of relying on voice calls, companies understood the importance of resources like chatbots. Digital self-services are in a similar format as a user manual, but in a more interactive way. eBay Chatbot is one of the best examples of effective customer service.
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced companies to a new way of service. Remodelling their existing customer care centers without compromising on customer-centered approach has been a difficult task indeed, but now customers won’t be waiting any longer for the service they expect. Nevertheless, shifting to digital solutions has helped companies to cope up faster in this sudden global change.