Who Do I Complain To? Brands May Not Be Ready For Holiday Customer Experience

The 2023 holiday season upon us, but customer service teams may not be up to it, judging by CX Snapshot, a study released Friday by Interactions.  

Of the 500 business leaders polled, 94% agree that consumers expect better customer service than they currently receive. And it would appear that 76% of consumers agree, based on earlier survey results. 

But 60% of the business leaders are aware of customer frustration, and 50% believe the situation is deteriorating, while 55% of customers agree. 

Asked how they rate their own customer service, 85% say it is excellent.  

But this needs some context. Earlier this year, Interactions released data showing that 38% if consumers would rather get a cavity filled than contact customer service and 37% would rather plunge a toilet than reach out to customer service. 



Business leaders have an even more negative view: 43% believe their customers would rather get a cavity and 41% say that they would rather plunge a toilet than engage with customer service.  

Perhaps this is based on their own experience as customers. In any event, the main problems appear to be phone-related:

  • Long hold times — 58% 
  • Multiple call transfers — 53% 

Customers having to repeat themselves to automated systems that do not understand them — 46%

Maybe they should try email, as many firms apparently are doing. A study by SurveyMonkey earlier this year showed that companies plan to prioritize the following in 2023:  

  • Multi-or omnichannel communication with customers (e.g., chatbot, email) — 44% 
  • Increase frequency of communication with customers — 41% 
  • Integrating feedback into company initiatives and strategy — 39%
  • Implement advanced data analysis techniques for CX insights — 35% 
  • Upsell/cross-sell opportunities — 35% 
  • Personalization of customer journey/touchpoints — 34%
  • AI and automation workflows — 33%

Among consumers, 50% seek to interact with companies by email  — second only to phone, at 53%. 

But companies are using these channels to gather customer feedback:

  • Website — 49% 
  • Phone call — 48%
  • In-person — 48% 
  • Email — 48% 
  • Social media — 44% 
  • Mobile app — 43% 
  • Messaging/chat — 38%

Email interaction cannot be deemed to be more painful than having a cavity filled.  

Either way, the Interactions study argues that brands need technology to function, especially with heavy holiday volumes.  

“Delivering a top-notch customer experience is probably the closest way to guarantee your business is successful,” says Peter Mullen, chief marketing officer of Interactions. “Businesses need to commit to delivering the kind of experience that a modern consumer expects. It needs to be fast and it needs to be personalized. Most importantly, it must solve issues.” 



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