With the pandemic’s restrictions and need for safety, enterprises face unprecedented operational challenges in their ability to deliver customer service. Many companies have been forced to adapt their support models to meet consumer expectations for service delivery. Back in May 2020, when the pandemic raged and safety was top of mind for millions, we carried out an in-depth study to explore consumer sentiment about technical support and residential technician visits. Now, several months into the pandemic, we thought we would take a second look to see if time or adaption to the new normal had shifted what customers expect during COVID-19 from service providers.
Survey Results: Customer Expectations of Service Delivery during COVID-19
Here’s what the survey found:
Demand for technical support is currently very high
Service delivery companies are busier than ever. Just under half (45%) of U.S. consumers required technician assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a substantial increase from an identical survey conducted in May 2020 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. One in eight (13%) consumers said they would not allow entry to a technician under any circumstances.
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. 60% expect companies to fix issues during the pandemic as quickly as before. A majority (56%) expect the technician’s visit to be as short as possible, and a half (48%) would allow only one technician to enter their home. At least two-thirds of consumers want companies to take extra technical support safety precautions, such as protective equipment (80%) and six-foot social distancing (68%), even if the visit costs them a bit more.
Service organizations have taken note
Companies have been catching on. Twice as many consumers report having experienced a technician visit that adhered to all 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).
Consumers are more willing to do things by themselves
The hesitance to admit technicians into their homes has led to a surge in remote technical support, where a customer is remotely guided to solve his own issues. Back in May, at the height of the pandemic, 57% of technician visits were conducted remotely. Six months later, this high demand for remote assistance is still evident, with 45% of consumers willing to use remote guidance to resolve issues due to safety considerations.
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
With 55% of consumers admitting that they would terminate a relationship with a company if it failed to take proper safety precautions for both its employees and customers, 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.
Full Survey: What do Customers Expect from Service Providers during COVID-19?
For more information on this new survey that explores the changing customer expectations for service delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic, download the full survey report here.
This article was first published on the TechSee blog.