Written by: Andrea Paul, Director of Content and Research @ Kustomer
Even during the best of times, businesses strive to be more efficient. There are always things to improve upon, always more customers to service, always proactive outreach to do. But when circumstances shift rapidly, and businesses are asked to do more with less, it brings to light the importance of efficiency in customer service.
Kustomer surveyed over 150 customer service professionals to better understand how they are being impacted by the pandemic, how their business is adjusting as a result, and what customers are expecting during their greatest times of need. One thing became abundantly clear: being efficient and effective is not optional.
More Inquiries, Less Time
Across industries, customer service teams are seeing a 17% increase in customer service inquiries during the global pandemic. Phone inquiries are seeing the largest uptick, with a 34% increase, followed by e-mail (28% increase) and web (24% increase). Social channels are being impacted the least, with only a 7.2% uptick.
Not only are companies handling more conversations, but they are also doing it in a largely remote environment. Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported difficulty working remotely, and 23% reported that they did not have the correct tools in place to successfully work in a remote environment.
It’s essential to have a customer service efficiency strategy, and the correct technology in place, to handle bursts in activity and enable productive remote work. Look for tools that leverage AI and intelligent automation to power self-service and low-level information gathering. This will free up agent time for more high-level and urgent support, while allowing customers to get their questions answered immediately. With the right technology, agents can focus on building relationships with customers. Automating routine and mundane tasks will also produce happier agents who will provide better experiences for your customers.
Ensure that the technology you have in place allows for collaboration between remote team members, so you can pull in the necessary individuals to solve customer issues quickly. You should also be able to manage your team with confidence, even if you can’t be beside them. Having a view into what your agents are working on, and being able to intervene if necessary, is key to a successful remote CS team. And most importantly, your customer service platform should be easily connected to by all of your agents with a basic internet connection and a standard browser.
How Organizations Are Adapting
The circumstantial changes occurring at the onset of the global pandemic drove real changes for many organizations. Unfortunately, 63% of CS organizations reported a need to cut costs during the global pandemic, with 46% reporting a need to reduce staff. All of this means customer service efficiency is incredibly important. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said there is a need to adopt more automation for efficiency, and 56% said there is a need to invest in new technologies. And unfortunately, customers aren’t giving businesses a break when it comes to speed. Quick service is one of the top three most valued customer service attributes during this time. Doing more with less is the name of the game in 2020, so put the tools in place to adjust sooner rather than later.
What CS Teams Need
63% of CS organizations report the need to cut costs
46% of CS organizations report the need to reduce staff
90% of CS organizations report the need to adjust policies
56% of CS organizations report the need to invest in new tech
59% of CS organizations report the need to adopt automation for efficiency
80% of CS organizations report the need to reach out to customers proactively
While the current environment won’t last forever, it’s important to properly prepare for extreme circumstances if and when they do occur again. Our full report has a plethora of additional industry-specific and general data, as well as actionable takeaways you can put into practice today. Download it here.