Contact centres are still under siege, facing higher than usual customer queries throughout the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. However, data shows customers’ satisfaction levels remained relatively stable throughout the pandemic and more problems are being resolved with AI. 

Zendesk’s latest Benchmark Snapshot data analyses the customer support interactions of more than 23,000 global companies, offering insights on how to support customers. 

After a huge spike in contact centre volumes at the beginning of the pandemic, customer support tickets were still up by 18 percentage points in Australia in early July since the end of February, according to the report. 

While customer support teams have had to rapidly adapt to ticket spikes, customer cancellations, market volatility, and increased uncertainty, CSAT has only fallen by three percentage points on average for the most hard-hit industries between February and June.

The companies experiencing the biggest increase globally in customer support tickets during March and April were airlines (up 247 per cent) and groceries ( up 176 per cent). Meanwhile, companies in sectors most impacted by the lockdowns, like ride-sharing apps, experienced significant decreases.

Many companies have looked to technology to help ease the extra volume, and customer support enquiries resolved by AI were still up 48 percentage points in July since late February.

Companies in severely affected sectors were leveraging AI the most during March, including remote work and learning (+618 per cent) and telecommunications (+884 per cent), highlighting the critical role of emerging technologies in maintaining customer experience at scale. 

Almost two-thirds (60 percent) of businesses have added content to their help centers since late February, empowering customers to find answers themselves or directing them to helpful resources via AI-powered chatbots.

“In a time of immense pressure, businesses have had to re-examine how they support their own customer service agents to ensure they’re providing the best possible support for customers,” said Malcolm Koh, Customer Experience Strategist, APAC, Zendesk.

“As Victorian businesses are faced with further lockdown restrictions, ensuring customer support teams remain connected to customers is critical to maintaining a positive customer experience. A support team with access to the right tools, such as those that enable collaboration, analytics and reporting, will be better positioned to understand customers’ needs, preferences and behaviours to build personal relationships online, in a time where digital is the new way forward.”

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