Share this content
Phone complaint

Coronavirus causes shift in consumer complaints, study finds


The COVID-19 lockdown continues to put pressure on customer service teams, with huge rises in complaints relating to video conferencing and internet performance.

6th May 2020
Share this content

The coronavirus crisis has put an untold strain on customer service teams. Many contact centres are having to grapple with new forms of remote working, whilst complaint levels are increasing across numerous industries due to a sudden and unexpected halt in operations.

As we revealed in March, the week of 15 to 22 March saw a 20% jump in the number of service tickets being issued compared with the same period last year.

And now, according to a study by EvaluAgent, the very nature of complaints has transformed as a result of the ongoing lockdown most countries continue to find themselves in.  

Video conferencing issues are now the leading complaint among consumers – specifically support tickets being logged in relation to sound, video and connection issues whilst consumers try to connect to video conferences.

Internet outages are also a chief source of complaint, as global networks continue to fight to deal with a surge in demand caused by national lockdown policies.

In the UK, Virgin Media’s recent broadband shutdown left more than 40,000 customers without internet.

Evaluagent’s study found that the top 5 sources of consumer complaint during the coronavirus crisis were:

  1. Video-conferencing issues – e.g. being unable to enable video or sound during conference calls
  2. Difficulties obtaining a refund for cancelled live events
  3. Internet outages during the working day
  4. Issues with complex or unexpected bills
  5. Difficulties claiming on insurance

Perhaps less surprisingly, complaints about cancellations and refunds feature prominently in the list.

Recent research from Chattermill highlighted a huge negative backlash towards customer service and support teams in the travel sector, as a result of swathes of holiday travel being cancelled due to COVID-19.

And the Competition and Markets Authority recently confirmed it was committing a taskforce to investigating an unprecedented number of reports relating to cancellations and refunds.

“Unsurprisingly, the last few weeks have seen a significant shift in the nature of enquiries received by businesses as we continue to adjust to life in lockdown,” says Jaime Scott, CEO and co-founder of EvaluAgent.  

“Customer service staff are the face and voice of businesses during these difficult times, and this points to a greater need for businesses to ensure their customer service teams are properly supported – particularly at a time when so many of us are working from home.

“Constant feedback and communication is key to ensuring customer service staff can cope with managing increasingly-complex customer relationships, creating a better outcome for all.”

More alarmingly, fourth on the list of leading complaints was issues with paying bills, which remains a major concern for consumers and businesses alike.

A recent HBR report found that contact centre calls related to financial hardship had increased by 2.5 times in just one week of the pandemic, in some companies.

Replies (0)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

There are currently no replies, be the first to post a reply.