Customer Service & Contact Centre - Market Update Q3

Lidya Paljk shares her team's insights on quarter three of the year and how not much has changed in the customer service and contact centre world. 

Here we are again, the start of a new quarter and a wrap up of another. Between July to September, those based in Auckland experienced another lockdown which meant we had to pivot quickly, as did our clients. 

As I sit here and reflect with my team, the consensus is that actually, not much has changed from last quarter (April – June). These are the key things that have remained the same: 

  • Contact centres have had to adopt a mix model of working from home and the office for those based in Auckland, when Auckland transitioned from L3 to L2.5/L2, with some choosing not to return to the office until we’re out of this new way of working.
  • Organisations are having to get creative with their engagement and building culture remotely. 
  • Investment in new tools and software which would have always been on the horizon has been fast tracked to enable teams to work from home. This seems to be a trend which is happening not only in New Zealand but also across the globe.
  • SEEK published their quarterly update at the beginning of September and overall noticed negative job ad growth, with outbound sales roles being those most impacted (or least advertised). After speaking with a number of key organisations with outbound sales functions, the consensus is businesses didn’t feel it was appropriate to be outbound calling customers. 

There were some differences however - recruitment didn’t stop this time. Compared to last quarter, organisations are now more comfortable with video interviewing and hiring new starters based on video interviews. With this comes the challenge of building team culture while working remotely. I spotted this great article on the hot topic and thought it was useful to share. 

The second lockdown in Auckland has made several organisations consider having sites in different regions for contingency, especially for those larger contact centres. We’ve noticed a couple of organisations choosing to recruit in the regions compared to the main centres. The regions remaining at L2 or L1 are giving organisations a bit more freedom and those who are outside of Auckland remain BAU. 

Lockdown has shown having frontline teams is more important than ever and the reason being is because customers still want to have an ear to speak to at the end of the phone. Our prediction for next quarter is a hard one, traditionally leading up to Christmas we find recruitment gets busy with pre Christmas hires and organisations needing to ramp up with a temp workforce, but this year things may just be a little different, we will have to wait and see!