Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, customer service organizations are still facing unprecedented operational challenges as customer expectations are redefined. An initial survey on customer expectations of service delivery was conducted in early May, showing a high demand for technical support alongside widespread safety concerns at the pandemic’s onset. A follow-up survey was recently conducted to identify evolving trends in customer expectations and whether remote assistance solutions remain to be extensively adopted by field service organizations in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
The comparative insights from the two surveys demonstrate that although we are moving to the next phase of the pandemic, consumers and service providers alike adapt to different service standards in the New Normal.
Demand for technical support is currently very high: Just under half (45%) of U.S. consumers required technician assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a substantial increase from the survey conducted in May when 37% of consumers required technician assistance.
Consumers are still uncomfortable with allowing technicians into their homes: Although not as guarded as back in May when 75% of consumers said they were cautious about technician visits, the latest survey still found that 61% of consumers did not want technicians around their homes unless strictly necessary.
If a visit is unavoidable, customers expect the company to meet their safety concerns: Sometimes there is no choice but to schedule an in-person service call. When necessary, customer expectations for service remain high and are very similar to the earlier survey data with 60% of consumers expecting companies to fix issues during the pandemic as quickly as before.
Service organizations have taken note: Companies have been catching on. Twice as many consumers report having experienced a technician visit that adhered to safety procedures now (72%) than back in May (36%). Interestingly, the percentage of consumers who said the technician visited without any special safety procedures has remained steady (16% in October vs. 14% in May).
There are multiple ways to deliver remote assistance: 58% of respondents indicate that they prefer a company that is innovating with remote support tools. And there are various tools available. One-fifth (19%) of consumers who required tech assistance during the current pandemic period was remotely guided by a technician. When given a choice of methods for getting technical assistance, one-quarter (24%) of consumers chose to be guided by a technician either over the phone (16%) or via a video call (8%).
Safety concerns are evolving as critical to brand loyalty
Our recent edition survey results demonstrate that safety remains the primary consideration for consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. With 55% of consumers admitting that they would terminate a relationship with a company if it failed to take proper safety precautions, the time has come for field service organizations to adapt to the new environment. Rather than being a temporary measure, in many ways, remote support has been a strategic enabler for customer service organizations across industries, as it offers an innovative remote support alternative in lieu of face-to-face visits.
For full access to the October Edition survey that explores the changing customer expectations for service delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic, download the comprehensive report now