What will retail’s post-Covid return mean for customer service?

Few sectors have seen more change over the last 18 months than retail. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about years’ worth of disruption, forcing many companies to fundamentally change the way they work and how they deliver customer engagement. 

In many cases, that has expedited retailers’ use of a range of technologies – from using artificial intelligence (AI) for chatbots and social media analytics to establishing new services such as click-and-collect – all while maintaining excellent customer service. 

As lockdowns ease across the UK, it might be tempting to think that the retail sector will return to normality and consumers will flock back to shops. While customers will undoubtedly visit physical stores, many of the shopping habits of lockdown will endure – e-commerce sales, for example, accounted for 14.1% of the worldwide retail total in 2019 and are expected to grow to 22% by 2023. 

Indeed, last year saw a 74% boost for online shopping and almost half of UK adults (45%) said they received more parcels during lockdown than ever before. The Covid-19 pandemic has also moved more consumers onto social media for their interaction with brands, with one study finding nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents said their social media consumption increased. 

A rapidly evolving retail landscape makes it more important than ever for brands to choose the right partner to manage and add value to their relationships with customers, whom have seldom had more choice when it comes to how and where they spend their money. 

 

WHAT COMDATA CAN OFFER RETAILERS 

At Comdata, we have a range of back and front office services that support our partners in the retail industry. Our end-to-end, multi-channel, and multi-lingual offering is specifically designed to each of our clients for them to confidently outsource their business processes, allowing them to focus on their core business and achieve company goals. 

We have worked with some of the world’s largest retail brands, with more than 100 clients across the globe, over 15 multi-lingual and multi-country programmes, and more than 5,000 dedicated Comdata consumer care advisers supporting the sector. Our clients include multinational brands such as Inditex, the owner of Zara; supermarket group Walmart; and FMG companies like Nestlé and Danone. 

In each case, we work with the brand to understand their needs, looking at how we can manage low-value interaction with consumers efficiently and effectively on their behalf. We have set up multi-lingual offshore and outsourced customer relationship management operations for clients, managing both inbound and outbound phone calls, email, and social media channels, delivering everything from customer care and claims to account and order management. 

We do all this while delivering a high level of performance. In our work for a leading furniture e-commerce business, for instance, we deliver a multi-lingual inbound customer support function covering the UK, France, Germany, Austria, and The Netherlands. 

Our multilingual team of advisers serve their native markets as well as the UK, over email and phone, which provides greater flexibility. The team delivers 4%-5% higher customer satisfaction than internal teams and is primed to grow with the client, with dozens of agents ready to be added in just 10 weeks.

You can find out more about our offering on our Customer Interaction and Process Management services page. 

 

CUSTOMER CARE POPS WITH COMDATA

For many years, we worked with one of the largest suppliers of soft drinks in the world. Comdata unified its consumer care model and increase its social media and digital activity to better reflect its customers’ journey towards these digital platforms and away from more ‘traditional’ routes.

  • What we did: As part of our service, we deliver a dedicated inbound consumer care service for the UK. The seven-year partnership has delivered significant growth in volume of customer interactions and the scope of our work, supporting the launch of new products and major partnerships and promotions, such as high-profile global sporting events.  
    Our solution is truly multi-channel, incorporating traditional consumer care services including voice, email, letter, and live chat. This is combined with extensive social media and digital activity, ranging from social listening and data analytics to moderation, campaign planning and content creation. 
     
  • What we achieved: All consumer interactions are channelled through Comdata and handled with standardised processes and agreed KPIs across all markets. One of the key service points was continuity across every channel: a customer can start their journey on Twitter and seamlessly move to phone without needing to restate their issue or re-submit personal details. The service has been so successful it has now been rolled out to the brand’s operations in Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa. 

 

SUPPORTING SAMSUNG THROUGH COVID 

One of Samsung’s biggest challenges during the pandemic was the sudden shift from in-person customer care to online. The consumer electronics giant was keen to make sure that the quality of customer care was as high as it had been in normal times, while reacting to a rapidly changing situation. 

  • What we did: Comdata understands how to take the experience customers had in physical shops and translate this into the digital world. Through technology, we support our clients to ensure that their customers’ experience is as good online, or even better, than it would be if they were to visit a store. 
    One of the remote tools we developed for Samsung allowed our advisers to manage access to a customer’s TV or mobile device. We also developed an online tool which an adviser could use to access the camera in a customer’s mobile device to inspect a product and provide a solution.
     
  • What we achieved: The switch from physical to digital is more important than ever. In a highly challenging time, we helped Samsung to adapt and continue serving its customers with great consumer experience, wherever they were. These tools enabled our customer care team to work remotely, while respecting consumer privacy, and resolve the customer issue from their home – despite the obvious challenges brought about by Covid-19. 

While our specially designed, powerful remote support tools made this possible, we also trained our agents to support our client during the transition. By combining human experience and intelligent tools with Samsung’s existing channels, we helped significantly enhance their customer experience.

Watch how we helped Samsung in our video case study.

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