Along with so many dramatic changes the coronavirus pandemic has abruptly introduced into our daily lives, a lot more business has moved to the internet. Because of social distancing, millions of employees have exchanged their commutes for a home office. At the same time, all sorts of companies have seen an explosion of traffic to their eCommerce and online service sites.

During this time, businesses have been forced to rapidly shift both their marketing and servicing channels. Because of the abrupt change, not all of companies have the right structure in place to keep up.

How Extreme is the Growth in Customer Service Requests?

While the digital transformation in the way we work and shop has gradually occurred over the past several years, its evolution has suddenly exploded. This change has led at least one digital business analyst to ironically wonder if the digital transformation was quite ready for the digital transformation. And perhaps this change has been felt most dramatically in the area of customer service.

For instance, Ted Smith serves as the Senior Director of Zendesk Market Intelligence. All over the world, Zendesk services about 23,000 companies. According to their data, all kinds of businesses have experienced a spike in customer service requests.

These are examples of activity changes that Zendesk recently reported upon:

  • Not only has the number of help desk tickets grown by 24% since 2019, Zendesk has also noticed extreme spikes right after new government announcements or sudden increases in the number of infected people.
  • As you might expect, critical or essential businesses have experienced the highest surges in the number of requests, with an overall increase of 133% since February of 2020.

Why Businesses Struggle with an Increased Load in Customer Service Requests

During the outbreak, many consumers feel as taxed as the rapidly evolving businesses that need to serve them. That’s also likely to mean that they’re less likely to forgive delays and frustrations than they might under normal conditions. At the same time, an increased load has made customer service departments even more vulnerable to experiencing issues.

It’s not just a heavier load. Some businesses did not have the right tools in place to accommodate their new remote workforce. Thus, scrambling employees have had turned to disparate and ad-hoc solutions. If your business still relies upon paper files, scanned files, file sharing through various free cloud storage accounts, or email attachments, you’re wasting your employee’s and your customer’s time. As well as wasting time with inefficient searches, these old-fashioned methods of capturing, storing, and locating data will also be more likely to cause errors because of version control and data entry problems.

How Companies Can Adapt Quickly to a Rapidly Changing Business Environment

Out of all of the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, businesses that can adapt should emerge from this current crisis much stronger. McKinsey research has found that 70% of customers cited poor customer service experiences as a reason for switching brands. Businesses that can retain their brand reputation and build a more agile workforce will prevail. When businesses can sustain themselves during these trying times, just imagine how much better they can perform after the economy begins to find stability again.

Enterprise-quality information solutions like M-Files will not only make it easier to find documents across all sorts of devices and storage mediums, they will help catch errors that erode data quality. These systems will even send alerts or information to facilitate the next stage of the business process automatically.

Better yet, users can have the freedom to access their information remotely and from a variety of different devices. At the same time, sophisticated security rules ensure that only the right people access the information they need. Version tracking can also make auditing and catching irregularities in data use a breeze.

B2B and B2C Businesses Need Efficient Information Management

Perhaps best of all, these intelligent solutions will ensure simple sharing across all departments and other stakeholders. I recently wrote about a B2B business example of poor customer service experience to illustrate that business customers need to be served as well as retail ones. I mentioned how I had clearly explained to salespeople how I needed a certain SaaS company to solve hmy business issues.

The sales team appeared to offer the right solution, but when I made the purchase and got transferred to the customer service team responsible for getting me set up, they hardly appeared aware of my needs, making for an inefficient and frustrating experience. A better information management system would have automatically sent this team such critical information as my questionnaire response, meeting notes, and any information I had previously requested and received.

In the example above, good tools would have enabled a more efficient and satisfying process. The account team could have represented their company better and even more important, kept the customer satisfied enough not to recount this anecdote at conventions. You can imagine that this kind of experience would have also frustrated a retail consumer who may have felt frustrated after purchasing a new car, HVAC system, or insurance policy.

Is your business ready for intelligent information management?