How Contact Centres Have Adapted to COVID-19

Carly Read
Senior Reporter

From boosting the customer journey to tending to privacy concerns  

How Contact Centres Have Adapted to COVID-19

Consumers can be pretty understanding individuals. We’ve all been there, calling our bank to make an enquiry, perhaps plagued by an emergency in light of what COVID-19 threw our way. This could have been a delayed mortgage payment payment, a direct debut having been returned or just a simple request for an overdraft extension to see us through until the following month. Only, as we’re rattled by anxiety, palms sweating, fingernails bitten, feet tapping, the agent – whether augmented or live – has trouble processing our request. There’s a delay of sorts, followed by some excuses and before we snap, we stop ourselves and remember what we’re all trying to deal with here.  

There was a prolonged period from March 2020 whereby most of the globe’s businesses sent agents to work from home. It was new, weird and unfamiliar before becoming interesting and many adapted to it. Yet, nearly a year on from lockdown 1:0, contact centres and their agents continue to lead the way in driving out the pre and post-pandemic disconnect by adapting to this new way of working.  

Here, we explore the challenges that faced CX as a result of the pandemic and how businesses have adapted to work with them, instead of against them. 

Generic CX 

It’s perhaps understandable that organisations used a scatter gun approach when appeasing customers mere weeks after sending agents to work remotely. After all, many of us were told lockdown would last a matter of weeks before we spent four months of our lives in it from spring 2020 to summer. It might have been argued customers were not actively seeking out personalised experiences, but that could not have been further from the truth as consumers sought for their experiences to be exceptional, like they had been before the pandemic hit. Contact centres have since achieved this through leveraging data to help marketers gain insight into a consumer’s recent shopping behaviour. Forms and cookies are well-known tools, but marketers have also been engaging in third-party behavioural data. This works by revealing near real-time shopping activity outside of their organisation’s purview. Using this tool, companies can use page views, email sign-ups, sites visited, time spent on site, and more to deliver tailored messaging that reflects personalised consumer behaviours. 

Privacy Regulations  

While building and maintaining more personalised brand and business experiences will remain key in 2021, honouring consumer privacy is key. Marketing strategies should be structured around this in a manner that prioritises consumer behaviour and consent. This is because CX is highly impacted by trust. Privacy issues will drive customers away and word of mouth will see issues spread like wildfires. A recent study by PwC showed that 87% will take their business elsewhere if they don’t trust a company is handling their data responsibly. 

Customer Journey  

With the right partner, marketers gain an unmatched level of understanding into the customer journey while ensuring that the data they’re relying on is collected safely.  Both marketing and business leaders must be aware of how they are compiling their data and being willing to share their data privacy policies with consumers.  

The customer journey is vital in building up a certain level of trust and contact centres have been using this to their full advantage. Top CX teams have leveraged the importance of the customer journey and use analytics to segment this, achieved by simply comparing their journeys to low-value ones. Using this insight helps CX leaders determine actions that will ultimately increase or decrease lifetime value. 

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