For many consumers, customer service can make or break brand satisfaction and loyalty. Yet, while care continues to improve overall, companies must recognize that their contact center operations are still far from perfect.
CorvisaCloud's "2014 Customer Service Report" examines trends within the space, highlighting key service issues, industry -specific performance, and ways to keep consumers happy. The study, which polled 1,214 U.S. consumers, sought to reveal that, while companies are increasingly aware of the value of listening to customers and implementing service strategies that address their needs, 'good enough' still isn't good enough when it comes to developing an experience that wows and satisfies beyond expectations.
The following statistics demonstrate where customer care providers continue to lag, thereby highlighting areas that will require added attention and improvements in the coming year:
While 60 percent of respondents reported an improvement in customer service, as compared to 2013, consumers also reported an increase (10 percent) in the frequency they're contacting customer service each month.
Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) claim that call center agents are uninformed and difficult to understand, with 80 percent saying said service reps sound robotic, as if reading from a script, and aren't really listening.
Thirty-two percent of those polled will hang up after waiting on hold for 5 minutes, while 51 percent will wait 6-15 minutes.
Respondents indicate that they still prefer to contact customer service via phone (55 percent) rather than using newer methods, such as email/Web forms (22 percent) and chat (12 percent).
Fifty percent of consumers have experienced challenges when trying to resolve an issue, with 64 percent admitting they've lost their tempers during such interactions within the past year.
Cable companies are still considered the worst customer service offenders, according to 47 percent of consumers-an increase of 16 percent over last year-while 30 percent identified the hospitality industry as the best provider of customer service overall.
Small businesses appear to have an edge on the competition, with 49 percent of those surveyed ranking them as providing the best at customer service. Only 11 percent believe large companies do it best.
Key takeaway: In this era of increased personalization, consumers seek service experiences that put their individual needs above all else. With these results in mind, CorvisaCloud established five tips to improve said service, lessen frustration, and achieve satisfaction: reduce hold times, hire the right people, invest in training, keep it real, and provide multiple channels. Because consumers will likely defect if made to jump through numerous hoops, companies must actively streamline the customer service experience to ensure matters are cared for in an efficient fashion. For instance, 18 percent of respondents believe businesses need to improve service by making sure the information the customer has already shared gets passed along when the call is transferred. Basic contact center behaviors, such as establishing consistency and demonstrating concern, can truly set the tone for any and all subsequent brand interactions. Consumers don't want to be thought of as problems, but as people, for creating valuable customer experiences means treating customers with value themselves.