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Covid and customers - how to past 2 years have changed the way we think about support 💭

Updated: May 9, 2022

These days, customer support is being recognised as a revenue generating function rather than a cost centre.

“Customer service is now a key differentiator between companies, a top consideration for customers, and a profit-generating force in its own right.” - Zendesk

But, how have the past two years changed the way customers think about support? After reacting and adapting to the pandemic, it’s time to reflect on how COVID has shaped CX trends.

We use data from CRM software provider Zendesk’s 2022 CX trends report to talk through the top 4 changes. And, we explore how to build a stronger, more successful support strategy in this new environment.

Top 4 changes in CX trends

1. More support tickets 🙋‍♂️

It’s no surprise that with more people buying online than ever before, ticket volumes are increasing.

📊 Key stats:

  • Support requests are up 14% compared to last year

💭 Implications: increased emphasis on automations, self-service and channel choice for customers, and a greater need for streamlining processes and hiring more team members.

2. Customers have higher expectations of support teams 🌟

Customers have higher expectations of support teams now compared to before the pandemic.

Support teams are no longer just assisting when things go wrong - they’re part of the whole customer journey “from product discovery to purchase, and well beyond”. The quality of support offered is highly valued by customers.

📊 Key stats:

  • 90% of customers will spend more if companies personalise the support they offer

  • 92% of customer will spend more if they don’t need to repeat information during support interactions

  • 76% of customers say they expect to engage with someone immediately when contacting a company

It makes sense. We've all had something cancelled or rescheduled because of Covid. The uncertainty that comes with placing orders and making bookings means it's all the more important for the customer support to be reliable, trustworthy and empathetic.

💭 Implications: streamlining processes and channels so that all customer information is in one place, more training for support teams (consistent and efficient ticket-handling, company tone of voice etc.), empowering the team to be able to go beyond solving problems and build genuine customer relationships (e.g. giving the team more time by hiring more team members).

3. Bad experiences have more adverse effects 📉

“Customers expect quick, easy, and effective service, and they’re willing to look elsewhere if they don’t get it” - Zendesk

Making purchases and bookings is a big deal. With regulations ever-changing, they come with more stress and more risk. However, if something goes wrong, it’s actually the customer support provided in these situations that’s extremely powerful - and is ultimately the factor that determines customer satisfaction and loyalty.

📊 Key stats:

  • 61% of customers would go to a competitor after just one negative experience (compared to just 39% last year!)

  • 74% of customers say they'll forgive a company for its mistake after receiving excellent service

💭 Implications: recognising that businesses need only look to their own customers for success. Again, it’s all about having the right people, tools and processes in place to solve customer problems efficiently and effectively.

4. It’s catching on! Businesses are prioritising better customer experiences in 2022 ⬆️

More than half of businesses surveyed are making better customer experiences the top business priority in the coming year. On the whole, budgets for support are on the rise. But, there’s still work to be done.

📊 Key stats:

  • 72% of businesses say their organisation views customer service as a critical business priority

  • However, 40% say customer service is not owned by a C-suite executive at their organisation

  • Only 54% of companies have a three-year strategic plan for customer service

💭 Implications: to truly deliver great service, businesses must shift their mindset, priorities, and their approach.

Common pitfalls

  • Prioritise customer support - it shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be recognised as a revenue-generating opportunity for growth

  • Invest in your support team - don’t let your them become under-resourced or overstretched

  • Optimise internal operations - inefficiencies are easy to overlook but directly affect customers

  • Don’t let your customer support software hold you back - make sure your platform is efficiently configured with easy CX

If you’d like support prioritising customers in your business, the Koda team can help!

Whether you have a plan ready for executing or need guidance on where to start, let’s chat about how we can boost your support function.

References 📚

  • Zendesk’s 2022 CX trends report - here's the full report, if you want to take a look

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