“This adds up to…13 hours annually spent waiting for a company that swears via automated message “we care about your business” to answer the darn phone.
Other findings of the survey:
- 86% of consumers report being put on hold every time they call a business.
- 48% believe the customer service representatives who answer phone calls are not helpful.
Lessons Learned? None
- 60% of consumers who call to complain get nothing.
- 71% are “tremendously annoyed” because they can’t get a live customer service agent on the phone.
So, you’d think American customer service would work to clean up it’s act, and call for improved customer help lines, shortening wait times and providing more meaningful assistance, right?
Well, you’d be wrong.
The survey indicates instead that the solutions companies are considering are even worse than the original problem. Instead of listening to what customers really want, many companies are just buying into the more convenient notion that texting makes more sense than communicating with a real human being. Stuart Levinson, CEO of TalkTo, an app for service request texting, is a case in point. He writes:
“This research shows how poorly the phone performs as a customer-service channel. Everyone’s calling less and texting more. It’s time for businesses to catch up with how customers want to interact with them.”
Really? Tuttle cites data that demonstrates just the opposite:
- In 2012, the average American’s monthly text total recently declined for the first time ever.
- A 2011 Consumer Reports study on the state of customer service finds that calling was the favored mode for seeking assistance, with in-person visits as a close second. Only 2% favored live chat, and even less preferred e-mail.
Amazing. So customer service is not about the customer at all; it’s about lowering their expectations and insulating yourself from the voice of the customer. As long as we all collude in lowering the bar for customer service, we can all cost cut our way to prosperity – on the backs of the customer.
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. I’d say this provides a tremendous opportunity for a real thought leader to differentiate itself in the market.