Belinda Bagnall, Managing Director of Residentsline, explains the importance of customer service when managing blocks of flats.

Customer Service expectations and approaches are rolling with the times, just like everything and everyone else in the current climate.

With Covid, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, cost of living hikes and Brexit to name just a few current stressors, consumers are in a heightened state of uncertainty, making for more explosive reactions to product issues and poor service.

Flexible hours and a lean towards working from home also bring new challenges for customer service teams to handle, and modern tech and social media bring the

ir own pros and cons to the table.

It’s the customer service wild west out there, so here are our predictions for customer service trends in 2022 as well as our tips for coming out on top.

Don’t assume that post-pandemic consumers are more loyal and forgiving…

It can be tempting to hope that the flexibility enforced by the pandemic and the feeling of a shared experience may result in a more understanding and forgiving approach from customers, but they’re actually proving to be more discerning.

Zendesk’s 2022 Customer Experience Trends Report states that “More than 60% of customers will defect after one bad experience, up 22% from last year, showing that excellent customer service may actually be the key differentiator between you and your competitors in a flooded marketplace with only one chance to hold on to your customer (saving precious time and money in the process).

Think ‘quality over quantity’ when it comes to human interaction

Traditionally, customer service has meant target-driven call centres and a presumption that human contact either over the phone or in person will make for a great outcome when it comes to complaints. In 2022, this is not so.

The pandemic forced many of us to get to grips with technology and to utilise social media- in fact, “a significant 64% of customers tried a new customer service channel in 2020” according to Finances Online. Many are now used to this and prefer to fire off a quick message than to actually speak to their fellow man- and all the better for business! Answering queries and complaints over social media, live chat or messaging services can save so much time, energy and money- embrace it.

Is your customer experience flexible and mobile-friendly?

With many of us now working non-traditional hours and/or working from home, it’s important that your avenues of contact work seamlessly and across the board.

Does your website function as beautifully on a phone or tablet as it does on desktop? Can customers contact you via Live Chat at all hours of the day if they need support while working outside of the 9-5? Have you embraced video-support with screensharing to resolve software issues?

Customers need to get hold of you with ease and at a time that suits them. They also need you to embrace the technology available to resolve their query quickly and with ease.

In terms of flexibility, just as your own staff may be requesting more modern schedules, your customers are adopting the same lifestyles. They want to be able to contact you in a way that suits them. Offer them clear, direct lines of communication and ensure your availability to respond is maximised and clearly stated.

Expect disruptions and support your staff

With the ongoing war in Ukraine, Brexit and the pandemic comes great disruption to supply chains and soaring costs for all. This will undoubtedly put a lot of strain on your customer service teams as they feel the impact in their personal lives and handle complaints from very stressed people. Make sure you’re looking out for your staff; supporting them and actively avoiding burn out wherever possible.

Utilising tools like Live Chat and Messaging could ease their workloads and put a protective barrier between them and potentially abusive consumers. It’s always easier to respond pleasantly in writing and handling aggressive behaviour is far easier when received on a screen rather than down the phone.

Head to the Residentsline website for information on all of our products and services or, if you’d like to speak to one of our fantastic, specialist team, give us a call on 0800 281 235.