CallCare reveals key changes in shopper behaviour from contact centre data
Manchester, 15th December 2020 – CallCare, the outsourced retail/eCommerce customer support specialist, has analysed its 2020 contact centre data to reveal the most unusual customer service trends of the year, including:
- A surge in telephone retail support and longer calls, as locked down shoppers chose to speak to people again, rather than bots
- Lower rates of complaints, order issues, returns and faults during Black Friday week compared to 2019
- Elderly shoppers shopping online through necessity but demanding more support and wanting to chat to customer services as a lifeline.
- Furloughed and home workers redefining traditional web chat peaks and troughs as they ‘shopped and worked’
CallCare, operating multi-channel retail contact centres across the UK, helped process nearly 60% more eCommerce orders during Black Friday week in 2020 compared to 2019, but only saw order support queries go up by 30%. This suggests that eCommerce fulfilment has upped its game with less reported problems – such as damages, returns and missed deliveries – even though retailers had to shoulder the burden of higher online sales.
Web customer support became truly 24/7. The merging of work and non-work life for many through home working has removed the traditional shopping enquiry peaks. Where there used to be enquiry surges around the working day and weekends, CallCare has seen shopping enquiries ‘level out’ around the clock.
Gemma Harding, head of client services, CallCare, said: “It’s a completely different pattern. Now, every day is a shopping day, and so is every hour. We’re seeing order enquiries coming in steadily all the time. People are shopping online while working, logging on to shop in the evening and even more often during the night. More retailers are bringing in outsourced customer service teams to handle the extra load.”
Lockdowns also forced many older people to bite the online shopping bullet out of necessity. This triggered longer than average customer support calls from elderly isolated shoppers in need of someone to talk to and those less comfortable using the internet or web chat.
Until this year, customer contact by phone was decreasing being replaced by web chat, email, and social media messaging. But CallCare found that many people starved of contact with friends and family, have started to chase up or ask questions about online orders and deliveries by phone again.
Its retail support call centres logged more than double the level of incoming phone enquiries during the pandemic period, compared to the same period in 2019. Web chat, email, and social media message enquiries also increased over this time, but slower in comparison by 40%.
Online shopping used to be dominated by impulse purchases, but CallCare’s customer support logs indicate that lockdowns have led some shoppers to treat it as the new ‘day out’. CallCare has seen more calls from customers seeking personal advice on which product to buy as well as a higher rate of complex enquiries.
Harding commented, “we’re seeing high end retailers in particular move their in-store brand experience to online and telephone support, which until now had often lagged behind.”
eCommerce has boomed in 2020 because of COVID-19. Even by late April, online shopping had surged by 129%1. By June it was predicted that COVID-19 would add £5.3bn to the size of the UK’s ecommerce market2. And in July it was reported that 25% of the British population planned to switch to online shopping permanently3.
Harding concluded, “We’ve seen more change in the patterns of retail/eCommerce customer support since April than ever before. It’s been a dramatic shift and retailers have benefited from working with support partners like CallCare to manage the change and disruption without losing quality of service to the customer.