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Social-Led Customer Care Through Covid:

What We’re Learning From the Pandemic

Our report looks at the impact of the pandemic on online customer care – what we can leverage from a year of mostly playing defense during a crisis, and second, how to apply it to a thoughtful, proactive strategy going forward. By examining the new trendlines and current events, 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
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The e-commerce surge

A McKinsey survey found that, since the crisis, companies are three times likelier to conduct at least 80 percent of their customer interactions digitally.

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In fact, the pandemic hasn’t just created a technology shift; it’s created a mindset shift. In 2017, executives reported that the driver of digital transformation was cost-savings. In 2021, the predominant driver is now reported to be “competitive advantage.” 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

The most critical factor in a successful online transformation is the ability to attract the right talent to drive the change and meet customer needs. It’s bodies, not bandwidth, that make the difference.

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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

Social intelligence must become a critical asset for the marketing organization. Savvy, strategic deployment of social intelligence can provide insights into the entire business cycle, including:

  • Industry dynamics
  • Competitive landscape
  • Emerging trends
  • Market opportunities
  • Customer insights

… all without personal data collection.

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

Watch the Webinar

If you consider the rise in customer complaints and the impact on loyalty and word of mouth marketing, you could easily argue that online customer care might be the highest marketing priority for 2021 and beyond. Our webinar looks at the aftermath of the pandemic and its impact on online service. By examining the new trends and current events, we establish the state of the nation of customer care.

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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.

Of the three quarters of Americans who changed their shopping behavior since COVID-19 began, around 40 percent say they have changed brands, with the level of brand switching doubling in 2020 compared to 2019. But 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]

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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

How different are you from your competition… really?

Clearly, an investment in world-class customer care is an unmissable opportunity in this competitive environment. 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.

Remember when I.T. was another word for the help desk? In 2010, those were just the guys who helped when the printer stopped working. Now your I.T. capabilities are a critical function integrated into everything from sales to operations. Investment in online customer care now needs to be expanded from a call center mentality to an omnichannel conversation that supports all stages of customer relationships and brand building.

Increasingly, the marketing function is responsible for a 360-degree view of customer experience. Shouldn’t that START with the online customer experience? Read our full report and watch our webinar for more success stories!

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Download the Report

10-min read

July2021  Webinar FBLandscape

Watch the Webinar

49-min view

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