Customer and employee relations suffer during pandemic, business leaders admit
A new independent survey among over 650 UK business leaders has found:
- 48% of decision-makers in UK businesses said employees are keen for more opportunities to collaborate with colleagues
- 44% feel their business became a less appealing place to work when in-person interaction ceased during the pandemic
- 39% said a greater reliance on digital communication due to Covid-19 has lowered the quality of customer service
As organisations return to the workplace, many are looking to break bad habits that have been formed during the Covid-19 pandemic, new research from Soffos.ai has revealed.
The AI-powered corporate learning platform commissioned an independent survey among 4,000 UK adults, of which 666 are decision-makers within UK businesses. Over two fifths (44%) said their company became a less appealing place to work when in-person interactions stopped during the pandemic.
Over a third (36%) of business leaders said their company has invested in digital communication tools to handle enquiries during the pandemic. However, 39% stated that this has resulted in poorer customer support.
More generally, 35% said the quality of their product or service has worsened as a result of relying more heavily on technology during the pandemic.
Soffos.ai’s research shows that the sudden shift to digital communication has hindered many businesses, with 38% of decision-makers believing that their organisation now utilises “too many” different channels for internal communications, which is interrupting productivity. The same number (38%) agree that a reliance on inadequate tech has hampered their ability to train staff.
Almost half (48%) of business leaders stated that their employees have expressed a desire to return to in-person meetings or office working. That said, 43% believe the pandemic has permanently severed traditional forms of communication within their organisation, with digital-first communication now the default.
In the hunt for better technology solutions, one in three (32%) businesses will invest in AI over the next 12 months to offer a more personalised experience to both employees and customers.
Nikolas Kairinos, CEO and founder of Soffos.ai, said: “The pandemic has thrown many challenges at businesses, not least how to best engage with customers and employees in a new digital-first landscape. While some adjustments have been successful, clearly the quality of relationships and service has suffered in many businesses.
“Technology itself is not the issue, but rather the adoption of poor or inappropriate tech, which likely occurred because businesses had little time to prepare for lockdowns, social distancing and remote working. With some business leaders feeling that too many technologies are in play, and employees missing out on vital collaboration, improvements have to be made.
“Going forward, technologies like AI will be instrumental to breaking bad habits learned throughout the pandemic. As AI-powered platforms allow greater scope for targeted collaboration, more personalised support and customer interaction, businesses should be able to restore these broken bonds to re-imagine a better and more connected workplace.”