No Stock. No Staff. No Service.

At Chirp Research, we wanted to understand consumer perceptions of recent customer service experiences amid the COVID-19 pandemic and opinions about the future of customer service. Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing some snippets of our new study No Stock, No Staff, No Service. Our findings show that most participants feel the quality of customer service has declined since the beginning of the pandemic.

COVID-19 has caused massive, worldwide disruptions to the supply chain. Shortages on shelves and backordered items, like new cars, have been all over the headlines. In the midst of it all, robust unemployment benefits and workers’ personal safety concerns have contributed to a nationwide labor shortage. This might explain the findings below, which highlight the best and worst of pandemic customer service experiences.

The combination of increased employee turnover, understaffed brick and mortar businesses, poorly trained phone/chat support, and product shortages is creating a disappointing mix, resulting in customers not receiving the level of service they have come to expect. Compounding the issue is a palpable dissatisfaction among workers, many of whom appear to have little vested interest in serving customers or representing the business.

“It seems like many employees feel they are doing you a favor by serving you, not recognizing that the customer is the one that provides the income that gives people their jobs.”

-Male Participant

But many participants are still optimistic and feel that over time, should companies choose to invest in training and retaining their employees, customer service will improve. Many also believe that because businesses received a crash course in all things pandemic, most companies will be focusing on level setting and innovating new ways to provide great customer service in spite of possible COVID disruptions.  

“With policies constantly changing and less employees around, it seems like customer service reps are less knowledgeable/confident and friendly. Hopefully with people returning to the office, there will be more staff available and more oversight.”

-Female Participant

In the next post, we’ll share some highlights of the qualitative phase of this study.  We’ll be hearing the good, the bad, and the downright ugly turns customer service has taken in the wake of COVID. 

No Stock, No Staff, No Service is a primary research study conducted by Chirp Research through a national quantitative survey in August of 2021 (N=1000) and qualitative focus groups in September of 2021. In this national study, we measured perceptions of customer service before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, causes of positive and negative customer service experiences, industries that excel and/or fall short at customer service, and expectations of customer service post-pandemic.