What contact center customer trends tell us about America’s view on COVID-19 today

Three months ago, our world flipped upside down. We experienced the impact of the first global pandemic of our lifetime. As this invisible virus reached our own communities, we saw schools and businesses close in a domino effect. Remote work, hand sanitizers, and facemasks became the new norm overnight. 

Despite replacing our office spaces with kitchen tables, backyard patios, and living room couches, we continued with “business as usual”. Traditional small talk about the weather turned into stories of workplace upheaval and social distancing – all while the family dog barked in the background.

As the dust begins to settle, many of us will tentatively take our first steps back into the community. During this time, you may have wondered: where has this left your customers?

At Balto, we analyzed nearly 1 million calls to uncover how often coronavirus came up in call center conversations. The mentions of “pandemic”, “virus”, “COVID-19”, and similar words give us a glimpse into America’s current feelings on COVID-19.

Average Coronavirus Mentions Throughout April and May

We started diving into people’s concern by looking at how frequently coronavirus was mentioned on calls throughout April and May:


Since the beginning of April, coronavirus mentions decreased by 67%. While this trendline is encouraging, it doesn’t mean your agents are out of the woods yet. Even at the end of May, agents were still handling coronavirus topics on 8.88% of their calls. 

Coronavirus Mentions by Industry

Next, we evaluated how call center trends changed across a variety of industries, from home improvement to healthcare.


While some industries experienced more coronavirus mentions, we found that on average over 11% of calls across all industries included a specific mention of the coronavirus. Based on these numbers, it’s safe to say that nearly all agents still navigate difficult conversations about this pandemic on a daily, if not hourly, basis.


Coronavirus Mentions in Sales and Customer Service Calls

Finally, we decided to compare coronavirus mentions in sales and customer service calls. While you may expect coronavirus to come up on sales calls more frequently, we found that the coronavirus was almost as likely to appear on customer service calls as sales calls.


What does this data mean for you and your business? Across all industries, agents are routinely engaging with customers about the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, these percentages only include explicit mentions. As we know from daily life, you no longer need to name the virus to talk about its impact. Your customers’ concern over the pandemic is not over yet. 

Originally published May 15, 2020 3:18 am