Pandemic Impacts Service Levels

To better understand the impact of the pandemic on customer service operations, Tethr (an AI and machine learning company) recently completed a study of roughly 1 million customer-service calls involving more than 20 companies representing a broad cross-section of industries. The results, show the harsh reality of customer service during the pandemic.

“In just two weeks, the average company in our study saw the percentage of calls scored as ‘difficult’ more than double from a typical level of 10 percent to more than 20 percent. Issues related to the pandemic — from unexpected travel cancellations to appeals for bill payment extensions and disputes over insurance coverage — dramatically increased the level of customer emotion and anxiety in service calls,” the study’s authors say.

The results also revealed a high level of effort for customers due to reps working outside of the office often with unreliable internet connections and low-quality phone service. “We measured a massive uptick in instances of both customers and reps saying, ‘I can’t understand you.’ And some companies in the study saw hold times balloon by as much as 34 percent and skyrocket more than 68 percent,” the authors says.

More insights for service professionals appear in the October issue of Customer Communicator newsletter.

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