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Social-Led Customer Care Through Covid:

What We’re Learning From the Pandemic

In our report by internationally-acclaimed speaker, author and college educator Mark Schaefer and B Squared Media Founder and CEO Brooke Sellas, we look at the impact of the pandemic on online customer care and how to apply it to a thoughtful, proactive strategy going forward. We can establish the state of customer care, including the impact of key dynamics such as:

  • The e-commerce surge
  • Remote work and labor availability
  • Supply chain disruptions
  • Privacy trends/social intelligence
  • A growing number of disgruntled consumers

The e-commerce surge

As early as April 2020, some retailers were experiencing record “Black-Friday” level sales… every day. With this swell of online transactions came a commensurate increase in online customer service experiences.

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The surge in customer e-commerce behavior is the trend most likely to persist after the pandemic. So, meeting the need for online customer care is a long-term challenge (or, in our opinion – an opportunity).

Remote work and labor availability

70 percent of American companies say that “remote working” is the pandemic-induced change most likely to last beyond the crisis.

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Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Customer Service

A national survey reported that 75 percent of consumers reported worse customer service experiences since the pandemic started.

World, interrupted: Supply chain disruptions

The past two years have seen an unprecedented level and breadth of supply chain disruption, creating chaos in even the most stable workflows:

  • Supply chain crashes from the pandemic
  • Unpredictable surges in supply and demand that wreaked havoc with JIT inventory systems
  • Geo-political issues that impacted shipments of many goods and commodities
  • The lodged ship in the Suez Canal
  • Record winter storms in America
  • Malware and digital security disruptions

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the unexpected has become the norm when it comes to customer care.

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Privacy matters: Trends and regulations

One of the most disruptive current trends is the obstacle to collecting and applying customer information to provide targeted ads, services, and custom web experiences. By identifying and engaging with these customers through powerful analytics platforms, we can draw strategic meaning from social media data, and channel this information to develop a “social intelligence” program that can inform the marketing strategy.

Social Listening can’t entirely displace current methods of intelligence gathering. But it should emerge for your company as a strong substitute.

Why that is so expensive: The cost of disgruntled customers

Word of mouth recommendations based on positive service experiences can have 20 times the impact of regular advertising. You could easily argue that online customer care might be the highest marketing priority for 2021 and beyond.

According to The Wall Street Journal, word of mouth complaining is on the rise. Compared to 2017, dissatisfied consumers are telling twice as many people about their experience. While satisfied customers tell 3.7 people about their positive experience, unhappy customers share their negative experience with an average of 7 people.

Further, more than 95 percent of Americans are willing to switch brands if they receive bad customer service, while a 5 percent increase in customer retention can boost profits from 25 to 85 percent.

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Studies show that when complaints are handled to a customer’s satisfaction, they actually become more loyal than before they had the problem. [source: Bain and Company]

A complaint isn’t necessarily just a negative event – with the right customer care strategy, it becomes a bonding event.

Customer care as a marketing priority

Positive customer care not only can retain more of your existing customers, it can lead others to switch to your brand. Add to that a social listening strategy that analyzes the dialogue with those customers, and you reduce your reliance on increasingly restricted third party data collection.

We think customer care is the I.T. of 2010 — neglected, with tons of untapped opportunity.

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Download the Report

10-min read

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Book a 30-minute free consultation with our CEO, Brooke Sellas on the calendar below.

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