Customer service and support leaders are accelerating self-service initiatives to mitigate potential negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Gartner, Inc. More than 40% of customer service and support leaders have experienced increased service contact volumes compared to original 2020 projections due to the COVID-19 pandemic (see Figure 1.).
A Gartner poll of 106 customer service and support leaders in October 2020 found some differences between organization types in how service contact volumes deviated from original 2020 projections. For example, B2C organizations most frequently reported an increase in contact volumes compared to B2B organizations. Among leaders who reported a contact volume increase, 46% said the increase was equal across self-service and live service. Another 39% of respondents said it was mostly in live service.
“An increase in assisted channel contact volumes has wide-ranging impact on the service function – declines in customer experience, higher cost-to-serve and rep burnout,” said Devin Poole, senior director analyst in the Gartner Customer Service and Support Practice. “However, the silver lining has been customers’ increased willingness to self-serve. Service leaders need to take this opportunity to change customer behavior in order to mitigate the near-term impacts on experience and cost.”