THE BLOG
09/15/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Customer Dis-service: Only 32% Report Positive Experiences

Results from our recent Huffington Post survey indicate a serious problem with customer service: low levels of satisfaction and feeling that customers are treated poorly because companies think of them as “Hostages, unable to go elsewhere.”

I will present survey results in two blog postings.  In this post, I will present key findings.

In the next post, I will share important findings regarding Customer Service Outsourcing and 9 Tips for improving your Customer Service Call Center.

Only 32% report that their Customer Service Call Center experience was positive. The “customer is king” mentality sure doesn’t seem prevalent for the other 68% of survey participants: 47% had a negative experience and 21% were neutral.

These 3 research quotes say it all:

“I daydream about suing them. From the product to the reps, they just don’t care about their customers.”  “If possible, I take my business elsewhere when I have negative experiences.”  “Customer service was rude, suggested I had done something wrong when I followed their manual. I showed them the relevant text in the manual. They said, ‘manuals are always wrong.’”

The following 6 quotes illustrate people’s feelings that companies treat them as “hostages” because these customers either have no other choices or can switch only with difficulty:

“If I wasn’t on a fixed income, I would pay the fees and break my package contract with Comcast … horrible.”  “I still give them my business, but only out of necessity.”  “I’m stuck with their service.”  “AT&T is the only game in town; I just have to deal with them.”  “If I had a choice other than Comcast, I would take it.”  “I would be done with most of these companies if I had any choice in the matter.” 

Let’s look at the impact of these negative experiences on 3 critical business metrics. Decreased likelihood to buy from the company: 64%. Creates a negative perception of the company: 85%. Decreased likelihood to recommend the company: 77%.

Based on the quotes above, it appears that more than 64% would report a decreased likelihood to purchase from the company if they were not “hostages” with few or no alternatives.

There were astounding benefits to providing a positive Customer Service Call Center experience. An increased likelihood to buy from that company: 94%. A positive perception of that company: 94%. Increased likelihood to recommend that company to others: 86%.

Given the significant impact of a positive experience, it is incomprehensible that companies are not investing in appropriate training and resources for their Customer Service Call Centers.

All of our experience in improving the performance of Customer Service Call Centers indicates significant improvements in revenue (for case studies, click here).

Given that it’s 7 to 10 times more expensive to acquire new customers versus selling existing customers, companies should view customer service centers as profit centers. As long as they continue to view them as cost centers, they will look for ways to cut costs.

 

In a blinding glimpse of the obvious (BGO), companies should realize that this is the most expensive and self-defeating way to “save money.”

In my next blog post, I will share people’s views regarding the impact of outsourcing – both overseas and in the U.S. I will also provide 9 tips for improving customer service call centers.

Please share your comments and experiences regarding these findings and your experiences with Customer Service Call Centers.