Over the last 12 months, the UK has weathered many storms, from the rising cost of energy to soaring interest rates. As we reflect on 2022, one common trend arises – 2022 can be remembered as the year businesses failed on customer experience.
From looking at 2022 customer data, there are three industries in particular that must recognise the importance of excellent customer service: utilities, financial services, and property management. The energy crisis and mortgage crisis are creating waves of anxiety among the UK population, and each phone call to a brand operating in one of these industries represents a critical make or break moment for their reputation.
Here are the key insights from our 2022 call data.
Le Mortgage d’Arthur
The global housing market reached a breaking point in the third week of April 2022 and is likely to be heading towards a brutal crash in 2023. During this period, two of the largest lenders in the UK increased the minimum salary requirements for a mortgage. Stricter borrowing requirements, coupled with soaring house prices, created huge anxiety amongst UK homeowners.
During the week of April 17th to April 24th, inbound calls from anxious customers to property management companies rose by over 25%. The UK’s mortgage crisis is still raging, and property management companies will continue to be inundated with calls from uneasy customers in the coming months.
Customers have long-term energy
Coupled with the mortgage crisis, the most dominant news story in the UK in 2022 was the energy crisis. On April 1st, a new energy price cap came into effect, which was 54% higher than October the previous year. Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit saw an increase of £693, making their bills likely to range from £1,277 to £1,971 per year. Prepayment customers also saw an increase of £708, taking their bills from £1,309 to £2,017. Following this announcement, calls to energy providers increased by 50% in the week of the 27th of March.
The rise in consumer prices of energy and increase in call volumes show a difficult time period for energy providers to deal with. A critical component of reputation management is effective communication, and the need for excellent and effective communication will probably rise as the energy crisis continues into 2023.
There are still some reasons to celebrate
As the cost-of-living crisis bites, overall sales in the UK may decrease as people have less money to spend at their discretion. This makes big sales events like Black Friday, Christmas, and Easter all the more important. For example, the Platinum Jubilee in 2022 caused a huge spike in calls from customers to Infinity’s clients during the week of May 29th to June 5th —an increase of 28%. This was the largest increase of inbound calls of the year and shows the rise in competition around big sales events.
The Platinum Jubilee shows that people are willing to part with their money for the right price – but they are going to spend time looking for the best deal. At busy sales periods when competing special offers are on, customers quickly try to find the best deal through calling businesses and comparing prices. Customer service teams need to be readily equipped with the knowledge and information that their brand is offering, to ensure that the customer is informed, and to maximise sales.
Are your call volumes increasing?
Now more than ever, utilities, financial services, and property management need to make sure they’re handling customer concerns the right way. Ready to invest in technology that can ease consumer anxiety, reduce the pressure on your call centres and improve your reputation? Book a demo with us today to find out more.