Call Centers Frustrate Consumers; Businesses Beware

According to the third annual Customer Service Report survey from Corvisa, consumers are getting fed up with poor customer service. 48% of respondents said they have stopped doing business with a company due to negative customer service experiences in the past year. And, nearly a quarter of millennials would stop doing business after just one negative interaction.

18% of frustrated customers reported going so far as yelling at the call center agent or 40% hanging up the phone, signaling that businesses run the risk of losing the customers they worked so hard to get. According to the survey, long hold times, robotic-sounding agents and lack of proactivity top the list of consumer pain points.

41% of customers still rank phone calls as their top method of communicating with customer service. This number increases to 56% when customers are frustrated, says the report. 78% of respondents would hang up if they had to wait on hold for more than 15 minutes, and a quarter would be lost at just five minutes or less.

57% believe lowering hold times is an area that businesses can improve on, up 16% from the 2014 Customer Service Report. According to a recent study by ClickSoftware, says the report, customer service wait times cost U.S. businesses $130 billion annually.

According to the study, 99% of consumers think customer service agents sound scripted at times, and 25% believe training agents to sound more natural should be a top customer service priority for businesses.

Brandon Knight, vice president contact center optimization for Corvisa, says "… hard for agents to convey empathy with the customer when every word is pre-planned… a more effective approach… instill general conversation guidelines and workflows… collect specific information… communicate in a more authentic way…"

Proactivity is a key to excellent customer service experiences, says the report, but 43% of companies rarely or never proactively reach out, even though 80% of consumers say they would be impressed if a company did. 77% of consumers are open to getting text messages from companies, particularly when it comes to:

  • Fraud alerts   (56%)
  • Reminders for things like payment, appointments, reservations, and travel status   (54%)
  • Notification of sales, discounts or special promos   (49%)

78% of consumers report hesitating to share personal information with companies in light of recent major data breaches, says the report. With fraud alerts topping the list of reasons consumers are willing to receive texts from companies, there is still a window of opportunity to use proactive outreach to mitigate consumer concerns.

Corvisa CEO, Matt Lautz, suggests that "… proactive care is looking at the behavior of your customers… calling them… before they notice there's a problem… "

Concluding, the report notes that 88% of millennials surveyed were open to receiving texts from businesses. As millennials will surpass the baby boomers this year as the nation's largest living generation, it's important for companies to note this trend in communication preferences, and adjust accordingly.

To review additional data from the study, please download this infographic in PDF format.


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