COVID-19 made customers more demanding, Gallup poll finds

(NewsNation) — Customers have different expectations than they did when the COVID-19 pandemic first started, a new Gallup poll found.

About 56% of the 18,665 employees asked by Gallup said they noticed this, with 43% reporting that customers were “more demanding and expecting higher levels of service.” Only 4% of employees said that customers were less demanding.

“Customers expect to be waited on immediately,” one person was quoted by Gallup as saying. “They want personal service, and no one else matters. They are first, no matter what else you are dealing with.”

Another cited rising prices as the reason customers want “better quality experiences.”

About 28% said consumers had greater expectations for virtual/remote service, while 11% of employees had more “emotional interactions,” and 9% said there was an increase in safety/health concerns.

“Customers in particular have formed new habits and expectations for customer service,” Gallup wrote. “Many of these changes are in response to conveniences adopted during the pandemic, such as home delivery, curbside pickup, on-site digital menus, on-demand video calls with experts and a general urgency to please customers.”

When asked about the barriers to delivering this “better” customer service, 43% of employees and 30% of Chief Human Resources Officers said the greatest one was staffing. Staffing was especially an issue for the healthcare industry. Over 70% of healthcare workers said customer expectations have changed, and 52% called staffing issues their greatest barrier.

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