The impact of Covid-19 on customer contact in Belgium was investigated through a survey, conducted by Möbius, in cooperation with the Belgian Customer Contact Association of customer services and contact centers.
The survey among 62 customer services and contact centers in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels examined the impact of COVID-19 on customer contact employees, on customer behaviour and the future of customer service. The participating companies in the survey were divided into four clusters:
- Banking & Insurance, Mutual health organizations and the government
- Retail and Media
- Energy, Telecom and Transport
- Facility contact centers, Consulting and Software
In short, the research shows that there is an increased focus on managing the human aspect of customer service rather than simply monitoring KPIs, that customer behavior has altered resulting in higher satisfaction rates, and that teleworking is here to stay.
The sector has noticed a significant difference in customer behavior.
Customers were clearly pleased with the human interactions and conversations during the lockdown. 57% of organizations noted customers took more time to engage with customer contact employees, resulting in a higher average call time. And more than half of the participating companies perceived an increase in customer satisfaction.
Customers tasted different interactions channels. Besides an uptake in telephone interactions, companies experienced an increase in the usage of other channels such as email, chat, video chat and messaging apps (e.g. WhatsApp).
As a result, 33% of the surveyed companies state they will structurally review their customer contact channel strategy to successfully combine digital and human aspects. Digital solutions will answer simple questions in a quick and correct way. Customer service employees will handle more complex and emotional questions, with the employee’s EQ being the most important asset. Companies also need to rethink which services will be offered through their office network and which will be dealt through contact centers.
60% of the companies within customer contact will structurally anchor homeworking
The lockdown had a major impact on the customer contact sector. With an almost complete shift to homeworking and for some also temporary unemployment. Numbers show that about 40% of contact centers had already partially incorporated teleworking before Covid-19. This increased up to 84% during lockdown.
Homeworking led to a shift in the role of team coaches. They have been very creative in finding ways to involve and coach their employees remotely. They even virtually trained new agents. 9 out of 10 indicate the general well-being of employees became a daily concern and a point of attention for team leaders.
Companies have now experienced homeworking works and claim to structurally anchor teleworkingwithin customer service in the future.
Have a look at the entire research report here.