Call Center in Mexico Based on what you think a customer service experience is like, would you rather clean a toilet or contact customer service via an Interactive Voice Response System (or another customer service channel)? That question was posed to 1,000 American consumers by Aspect as they conducted research for their 2017 Aspect Consumer Experience Index.
According to the survey, 39% of customers would rather clean a toilet than look to an IVR to answer their questions or resolve their complaints. When it comes to other sources, the number drops to 35% for social media, 18% for text, 14% for email, 13% for voice, and 11 percent for in-person support.
These stats show that customer support is definitely not perfect, but there are obviously support channels that create a better experience than others. I’ll argue that no one wants to contact customer support to begin with. We don’t get up in the morning and look forward to having a problem that requires contacting someone for assistance in solving it. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need customer support. But, perfection is not reality. So, we must give our customers the best experience we can.
Why would people rather clean a toilet than use Interactive Voice Response for service? Because it’s cumbersome, slow, and frustrating when you don’t get the right answer and can’t get to someone who can give it to you. I get why this one ranks high on the list.
I can also understand the high number for social media. Many customers use social media as a backup. They go social with their complaint because they couldn’t get the result they were looking for on another customer support channel. So, they are already angry when they make their post. It only worsens when companies are slow to respond.
There were some other interesting, yet not as entertaining, findings in the survey, and they are worthy of our attention. Note that at the end of each of these findings, I’ve posed a question for you and your organization to consider.
• Contact with customer service has declined by 7% in the last two years. That doesn’t mean that the products are better and no longer require customer support. It’s because self-service options are working. The study states, “Consumers may be re-defining customer service as only the moments when the self-service process breaks down and they have to engage a live person in some way or form.” Question to consider: Have you created an easy-to-use and effective self-service solution?
• Poor customer service continues to kill business with 54% of customers walking away from a business that delivers bad customer service. That is an increase of 5% over the previous year. If you pull millennials out from the general population, that number jumps to 61%, which is a 9% increase over the year before. Question to consider: Do you know how many customers your organization loses due to poor customer service?
• The primary cause of consumer frustration is “lack of effectiveness.” Of the customers surveyed, 27% felt their questions were not answered in a satisfactory manner. Question to consider: What is the most common complaint you get about the customer service you provide? (Don’t confuse this with the complaint a customer has about your product. This is a complaint about the service.)
• “Non-voice” methods of providing service are becoming the customer’s method of choice. Connecting with a support rep on the phone is becoming less popular. When asked which method is preferred if the customer could only choose one way to interact with customer service, only 41% said they would prefer “Voice.” That’s down 10% in the last two years. That number is 29% for Millennials. In general, customers are looking for alternative customer service solutions. Question to consider: Other than the phone, what other methods of customer service do you provide to your customers to get quick and reliable answers to their questions?
• Customers will pay more for better customer service. A majority 52% of consumers said that they would pay more for “good” customer service while 66% will pay more for “great” customer service. And, an astounding 75% will pay more for “exceptional” customer service. How much more are they willing to pay? Well, 60% will pay 5% more for “great” service, and approximately one-third will pay 10 percent more for “exceptional” service. Question to consider: Is your customer service so good that it makes your price less relevant?
For those considered to be customer service laggards, problems are ahead. Customers are aware of what good customer service looks like, what’s acceptable, and what’s not. For those that excel, there are opportunities for new business, more repeat business, and the potential to make pricing issues less relevant. Until the percentage of people who would rather clean a toilet than contact customer service reaches zero, there is always room for improvement.