Since the global outbreak of COVID-19 more customers are turning to AI-based customer service tools and more brands are using these tools to help manage requests according to new data from Zendesk. 

Zendesk’s Benchmark Snapshot Data analyses the support interaction data of more than 20,000 global companies. According to the company, support requests using AI  is up 55 per cent since March 1. 

The data shows a shift away from traditional channels to emerging channels in order for agents to more efficiently communicate with customers. Chat usage has increased by 34 per cent and native messaging is up 21 per cent. 

Zendesk explained, “These companies are finding chat and messaging particularly important for customer service during a crisis. Chat enables customers to get answers immediately, and messaging and texting allow them to begin and end a conversation on their own schedule.”

There has been an 11 per cent increase in customer service requests or tickets since the end of February compared to the prior year. 

The company explains in a blog post, “Businesses of all types, from all over the world, are experiencing ongoing shifts in support request volume. Customer requests are up across the board: Benchmark data indicates an 11 per cent increase in companies’ average weekly ticket volume since late February of this year.”

Zendesk noted there’s a strong link between the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe and spikes in support requests happening in response, as customers react to news about the outbreak.

Source: Zendesk.

In Australia, tickets have increased 15 per cent since March 1 compared to 2019. 

In APAC the average tickets have dropped 16 per cent since March 1. While in America average requests have jumped 11 per cent, in LATAM by 9 per cent and in EMEA 8 per cent. 

Certain sectors are also feeling the effects of COVID-19 with growth in requests and others that are affected by shutdowns are seeing a steep decline. 

Remote working, telecom and food delivery have seen the biggest increase in AI resolutions. From the Zendesk data, Remote working grew by 836 per cent, telecom by 217 per cent and food delivery by 208 per cent. 

Source: Zendesk.

There are other sectors experiencing spikes in requests with remote work and learning seeing the biggest spike at 208 per cent. 

Airlines saw a 60 per cent increase in tickets with a peak occurring mid-March and then a sharp drop. Groceries are on a continual increase of 76 per cent from the prior year and restaurants at 57 per cent. 

Those experiencing a decline in tickets include ridesharing with a 57 per cent drop and real estate with a 43 per cent drop in requests since March 1. 

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