As a company, we’ve been planning and preparing for COVID-19 in some way since January.
As we shifted from planning to respond to an absolutely incredible and sometimes overwhelming reality, we anchored ourselves in paying attention to what was happening at a macro-level. But also, discreetly: across our portfolio of clients’ customer support trends.
When we were fortunate enough to have Patrick Campbell of ProfitWell address our clients and share the data they were seeing across their vast network, we thought it would be helpful to take their expansive data and bring focus to it as it relates to what we were seeing.
What follows is some high-level trends we were seeing as we entered QBR season. We’ve organized our clients into cohorts to help maintain anonymity while also balancing anomalies with trends. We view the value of this data as directionally insightful though we hope to partner explicitly with our clients to provide more in-depth analysis over time.
Related Read: How Mission-Driven Organizations Responded to COVID-19
A Note on the Data
- We organized companies into cohorts encompassing industries like Saas, Revenue Technology, Media and eCommerce.
- Customer data is from Feb 2 – March 14 (Pre-COVID) and March 15 – April 25 (Post-COVID) and is anonymized and in aggregate.
High-Level Customer Support Trends during COVID-19
- 69% of companies saw an increase in ticket volume across all their channels. Sentiment be damned, volume and engagement of customers are increasing in a sustained and material way.
- 75% of eCommerce companies saw an increase in tickets; the only drops in ticket volume were for those working with perishable goods. Not surprising as the shift from the immediate, on-demand was logical given the prevailing guidance on interacting with material goods
- Media companies saw a massive increase in ticket volume (79%), but the largest increase in ticket volume was for SaaS companies supporting eCommerce (152%). This is where looking at the companies that power the companies who are being successful becomes an important trend to monitor. Not surprisingly, in addition to eCommerce SaaS, our logistics companies felt the impact soonest, but also, recovered (as essential companies) the fastest.
- SaaS companies were a mixed bag and in a tighter range around normal than other industries (-37.8% to +38%). The data proves this though as subscription revenue should have less variance; whether subscription software or subscription service or subscription commerce — the point of subscription is to manage variance while compounding growth.
- Nobody was prepared for what was going to happen; every company that saw a spike in tickets, saw a spike in FRT (though not tracked linearly). Our perspective is that Customer Support, the people on the front lines, are often the people we take advantage of most. If sales opportunities spiked, we’d see an increase somewhere in the revenue cycle. But when ticket volumes spike, the only thing we see spike as well is utilization. (Note: We have seen a number of team members voluntarily jump into their client queues and not report their OT because of their affinity for their accounts. Integrity levels on support teams have always run high, but these times have shown extraordinary goodwill.)
- We saw a 74% increase in positive CSATs; with 99% of those focused on Quick Service (48% increase) and Good Service (117% increase). The data speaks for itself. We are a mission-driven company and believe in the goodwill and natural goodness of people. In this case, we’re seeing customers of our clients being more tolerant and more generous with praise even when other operational metrics may be struggling for obvious reasons. If you want hope, this, folks, is a place to look for hope. Positive trends in an environment where people aren’t aware folks may be watching. “Dance like nobody’s watching” has resurfaced as “Praise and say thank you, like nobody’s watching.”
- We saw only an 8% increase in DSATs. A majority of the increase in DSATs were related to poor, unrelated, or a lack of response. Not much that needs to be said here; sometimes the data is perfect in telling its own story. People are being generous and understanding — sometimes all we want to feel is heard.
Related Read: Employing Outsourcing and Automation to Scale a Support Experience
There’s More to Learn
Our data isn’t perfect.
But it’s material. It represents data from a sizable volume of great companies. And the trends we shared are the clearest and most overwhelmingly clear ones.
With all that we have to face; everyone benefits from some clarity and some hope. We documented and shared this here with a belief you’d find some in what we see.