Impact of a Recession on Call Center Business: Lessons from 2008

recession

What a recession may mean for your contact center

Is another consumer recession looming? Looking in the mirror of time at past financial crises may give us a glimpse of what’s coming.

We’ve already seen effects from the Pandemic with local restaurants and businesses closing their doors, the domino effect of delays with materials and shipping and rising fuel costs. Some financial experts believe this is the beginning of another financial recession.

“With so many challenges and unknowns, it’s hard to know where to turn for helpful insight that feels relevant to this moment. Looking back at how brands responded during and after other generation-defining events of the last twenty years, particularly those that resulted in economic volatility, is not a panacea for all that brands are currently facing, but it can give us food for thought on how we can navigate the moment—and perhaps some sense of hope for the future.”

–Jessica Lehmann Ash, Strategy Lead Co: Collective.

Let’s look at some trends that emerged from the 2008 recession and what this may mean for contact centers.

People will spend more time researching before making purchasing decisions

In the US almost 1 in 5 shoppers bought lower-priced goods between 2007 and 2009. Of those surveyed, 41% said although they preferred the premium brands, the extra money wasn’t worth it. The uncertainty and need to research brands and costs before purchasing helped lead the shift to more consumer driven advertising. Consumers no longer trusted the ads telling them what the brand wanted you to think or feel about them, so they turned to Twitter or consumer reviews before purchasing.

Contact centers can weather the storm by auditing their web presence, paying careful attention to the way they interact with consumers at all touchpoints and analyzing the data this teaches them about their customer base.

Digital will continue to increase

2008 triggered retailers to expand their ecommerce to offset economic issues in their physical locations. Online shopping continued to see year-over-year growth from 2009 to 2020, when brick and mortar shops shut down, making consumers shop online more often. Many continued to purchase online once they realized the convenience.

Before the 2008 recession, there was overall doubt consumers would purchase certain items online, like clothes or furniture, without seeing them in person. There was also doubt that the instant gratification of in-store purchases would outweigh the convenience of purchasing online. The online retailers that answered with unbelievably fast shipping times prospered.

Considering how your customers’ needs and situations may have changed and meeting them with revised offers and processes to interact with your brand will help you weather a potential economic storm.

What a recession may mean for your contact center

Is another consumer recession looming? Looking in the mirror of time at past financial crises may give us a glimpse of what’s coming.

We’ve already seen effects from the Pandemic with local restaurants and businesses closing their doors, the domino effect of delays with materials and shipping and rising fuel costs. Some financial experts believe this is the beginning of another financial recession.

“With so many challenges and unknowns, it’s hard to know where to turn for helpful insight that feels relevant to this moment. Looking back at how brands responded during and after other generation-defining events of the last twenty years, particularly those that resulted in economic volatility, is not a panacea for all that brands are currently facing, but it can give us food for thought on how we can navigate the moment—and perhaps some sense of hope for the future.”

–Jessica Lehmann Ash, Strategy Lead Co: Collective.

Let’s look at some trends that emerged from the 2008 recession and what this may mean for contact centers.

People will spend more time researching before making purchasing decisions

In the US almost 1 in 5 shoppers bought lower-priced goods between 2007 and 2009. Of those surveyed, 41% said although they preferred the premium brands, the extra money wasn’t worth it. The uncertainty and need to research brands and costs before purchasing helped lead the shift to more consumer driven advertising. Consumers no longer trusted the ads telling them what the brand wanted you to think or feel about them, so they turned to Twitter or consumer reviews before purchasing.

Contact centers can weather the storm by auditing their web presence, paying careful attention to the way they interact with consumers at all touchpoints and analyzing the data this teaches them about their customer base.

Digital will continue to increase

2008 triggered retailers to expand their ecommerce to offset economic issues in their physical locations. Online shopping continued to see year-over-year growth from 2009 to 2020, when brick and mortar shops shut down, making consumers shop online more often. Many continued to purchase online once they realized the convenience.

Before the 2008 recession, there was overall doubt consumers would purchase certain items online, like clothes or furniture, without seeing them in person. There was also doubt that the instant gratification of in-store purchases would outweigh the convenience of purchasing online. The online retailers that answered with unbelievably fast shipping times prospered.

Considering how your customers’ needs and situations may have changed and meeting them with revised offers and processes to interact with your brand will help you weather a potential economic storm.

Just for you, we’ve created a playbook outlining 7 strategies to drive growth through your contact center if a recession does occur based on the information 2008 taught us. 

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