Will service levels ever return to pre-COVID expectations?
Today’s post is by Dave Wenig is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Services at SafeSourcing Inc
As a consumer, it was understandable that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to adjust our expectations. There were legitimate challenges that companies had to find a way to navigate through before we could even hope to get back to normal.
Now, there have been such drastic changes in the expectations of consumers that it is easy to wonder if we will ever see services return to their previous levels.
One example I have found is call centers. After years of being told by a recording to expect a longer than usual wait due to COVID, the messages are gone and the longer wait times have stayed. It is not uncommon to have to wait hours for a representative if you need live support for some services like for travel. We have recently waited hours online just to talk to someone in a chat window for a specific service provided by a resort because the resort is pushing everyone to register online rather than in person. This was for their benefit but was very costly for us.
Another example is while shopping. Companies continue to move toward a kiosk approach to checkout and ordering, such as for quick service food. I recently went to a large national retailer and decided to also grab some lunch. I tried to pay cash at the register, but the employee was the only one in that area and pointed me to a kiosk to order. The kiosk does not accept cash. I asked if it were possible to pay cash and was told it would be “a while.”
I wonder if or when we will ever get back to pre-pandemic service levels. I believe we will not until the companies find an external force that makes them adjust. The reality is that over the past years, these service providers have adjusted their staffing models to run with less resources and found that consumers continue to pay. Beyond that, consumers are paying more for these reduced services and longer waits. If that trend continues, expect the services to maintain their current levels at best.
For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.