During these unprecedented times, millions of jobs have been lost; coverage hours are due to COVID-19. As a customer, here’s some insight into what’s happening to companies behind the scenes. It’s essential to understand what companies are dealing with but may not be able to tell you directly.

As a customer, we can expect the following from most companies

  • Much higher than regular wait times because customers who can reach a company may take up more time
  • Companies may switch to email or chat-only support models
  • Reduced response times due to CSR shortages
  • Phone systems may be turned off and on to manage incoming call traffic
  • Agents might be using their cell phones to talk to customers

Here’s what’s happening behind the scenes of companies still in business despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working from Home

Work from home

Governments and companies are taking action against the COVID-10 pandemic by mandating people to stay at home and using social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, essential and non-essential companies can still operate their business from the comfort of their home. This allows companies to play their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19; however, others who don’t have the luxury of working from home have found themselves without work because their role is customer-facing.

Pending Layoffs

Struggling markets

With companies having their customer base significantly reduced, they are in a position where they need to find a way to keep CSRs employed. As a result, over 15+ million jobs have been lost because customers cannot support their local businesses. Thus, companies have limited options to stay open, so CSRs still employed face the real possibility of being out of work soon or having reduced hours.

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Reduced hours

Reduced work and income

With companies unable to stay profitable, they have to take preemptive measures to save money, time, and other resources so that their business does not get shut down permanently. As a result, many have to offer reduced hours to compensate for needing more customers to support their business. Having reduced staff hours could either mean less work or an overwhelming amount of work.

Overwhelmed with work

Coronavirus Depression

If a company is on life support, the workload could be the same, and as a result of that, a company could very well be working with a skeletal crew to keep the lights on at home or in a small office. This can lead to confusion, depression, and frustration that there’s no end in sight for the pandemic. Being overwhelmed with work can make customer service delivery suffer because CSRs will be under extra stress because they do not have the luxury to quit to find something else. As a result of this, many CSRs could be experiencing depression or worse during these difficult times for the world.

Schedule changes

CSR Schedule

With mass layoffs and eminent termination for some companies, significant adjustments have to be made to schedules to accommodate a reduced workforce and operating budget. Unfortunately, This will inconvenience customers, who may be unable to reach a company during regular business hours.

There is no updated or precise info on handling service delivery during the pandemic crisis.

Governments are taking a solid stance to close down non-essential businesses, and those companies that still offer customer service support are simply reacting to the crisis and working with what they have. However, the biggest issue is that most companies still need a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to adapt to doing service remotely or with reduced staff.

An example is that a company may need ten workers to handle shipping, but this number could be reduced to just 2 or 3 workers with limited knowledge about shipping. This creates a backlog of work.

Less support from management

Bad management

How bad management can end a CSR’s career?

As companies adjust to changes around COVID-19, CSRs might be in a position where they need more support from their management team. This can lead to significant confusion and service disruption because management might need to deal with non-customer-related issues. For example, a contact center manager might have to assist other staff or departments in managing the heavy workload from the COVID-19 disruption.

When calling a company you have had issues getting a hold of, please do your best to keep calm and understand that the long wait times are not the CSR’s fault. During a crisis, we can all band together to get through difficult times, and we can all do our part by being mindful of the limitations and the humanity of those answering calls, email chats, or even social media.

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