Pandemic predictions revisited - was Bold360 right about the ‘new normal’ for CX?
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Pandemic predictions revisited – was Bold360 right about the ‘new normal’ for CX? 

The pandemic has dominated headlines over the last 12 months. Even approaching a year on, it’s hard to say what the true fallout for customer experience (CX) will be.

Back in March 2020, Bold360’s Head of Gaming Accounts Neel Davda made a series of predictions on how businesses will be affected by the pandemic. Now, he takes a look back at whether his predictions came true.

Very few people out there can honestly say that they predicted the pandemic would happen, let alone last this long. And from the first wave of lockdowns, it was quickly apparent that it would have a drastic impact on the ways in which we conduct business and interact with one another.

So back in the early days of lockdown, we made some predictions as to how living in the era of social distancing and face-masks would change the customer experience. Three lockdowns later and we decided to look back on these to see how many have come to fruition.

Self-service will save customer service

The move to self-service to fortify the front end of many companies was already trending before the pandemic. However, this was accelerated significantly once we entered lockdown, and there are three reasons for this.

Firstly, prior to COVID-19, many companies had already proved the monster return on investment for self-service, making it easier for companies to make the switch.

Secondly, traditional contact channels had already begun to fail, which made the shift towards self-service a no-brainer for many companies. 

And thirdly, COVID-19 shone a spotlight on the challenges involved in effectively managing a remote workforce, placing greater emphasis on intelligent self-service.

With this prediction, I believe we hit the nail on the head. Self-service looks to become even more ingrained into customer service, and can be considered as a solution to minimise the disruptions businesses are facing. It has saved customer services and continues to do so.

Contact centres will pivot to become permanently remote

As working from home became the new normal, companies were left with no other option than to shift to remote contact centres. 

Back in 2020, we predicted that in the long run, the shift towards remote working would become a permanent feature for CX as more companies began to realise the new benefits of this working environment.

For many companies, the goal is to provide a seamless experience between their interactions with customers on different channels. In most cases, this means successfully leveraging new technologies and platforms to provide this experience.

However, one issue that can arise with remote contact centres is the inability for employees to speak face-to-face, slowing down the process of finding answers for customers’ questions. To overcome this, information needs to be easily accessible to all employees.

With companies in various different stages of transition to remote centres, we can’t confidently say whether this prediction has become true. There are a number of companies which have made the permanent shift to remote working, but we won’t know if this is an overwhelming trend or not for some time still.

Demand for high-touch digital services will increase 

The move to digital-first services is no new phenomenon, this has been going on for several years now. However, the pandemic added fuel to the fire and demand has grown exponentially. Digital is now no longer a priority, but a necessity. 

Our initial prediction stated that the need for social distancing measures would lead to a rise in high-touch digital services. 

If you take a broad look at how companies have adapted to the times we’re in, you can see many adopting more high-touch approaches to digital: Video chats and co-browse technologies are replicating the in-store consumer experience remotely.

The question that now faces the industry, however, is whether ‘Zoom fatigue’ will set in – thereby reducing the staying power of this approach. 

With that in mind, we can say that the jury is still out on whether the demand for high-touch digital services will become a permanent feature for CX. 

So, were our predictions right?

From the outset, our predictions look to have been largely right. However, with the Covid situation constantly changing, there were a few predictions where – even a year later – it is still too early to say whether the impact on CX is here to stay. 

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