TCN, Inc., a global provider of a comprehensive cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs and collection agencies, released the results of its inaugural "Consumer Insights about Customer Service" survey of American consumers. The national survey, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by TCN, reveals Americans overwhelmingly prefer to interact with a live person when dealing with customer service centers. Furthermore, when waiting to speak to a customer service representative by phone, they are willing to wait on hold for six minutes on average, but the average actual wait time is three times longer, averaging 17.4 minutes. The survey also finds companies that prioritize good customer service are likely to be rewarded by consumers with increased brand loyalty and positive online reviews.
We All Need the Human Touch
In the survey, nearly 7 in 10 respondents (69%) said talking to a live agent by phone is one of their top three preferred methods of communication with a company’s customer service department; 5 in 10 (54%) said email; 4 in 10 (46%) said an online chat with a live agent. When asked to pick the top three most important qualities of a customer service agent, 60% selected "willingness to help;" 60% chose "ability to solve my issue;" and 58% indicated "knowledge about the product or service." Fifty-four percent said either "pleasant to talk to" or "having a compassionate attitude." By age groups, Millennials (18-24) value a compassionate attitude (28%) twice as much as Baby Boomers (57-75) (13%).
Cue the Dreaded Hold Music
Americans are willing to wait on hold, but not for long. When calling a company’s customer service department, Americans said they are willing to wait on hold for six minutes, but the actual wait time on average is three times longer. One-third (34%) said they’re willing to wait on hold between five to seven minutes, an average of six minutes overall, with women (15%) twice as likely as men (8%) to be willing to wait 10 minutes or longer. However, the average actual wait time on hold is 17.4 minutes, with 2 in 3 (62%) saying they’ve waited on hold longer than 10 minutes and nearly one-quarter (23%) saying they’ve waited on hold for 30 minutes or longer. Women are more patient -- they’re twice as likely (31%) as men (13%) to wait on hold more than 30 minutes.
Gold Star Customer Service is Rewarded
In the survey, consumers said they are likely to reward companies with good customer service with increased brand loyalty and positive online reviews. After a positive customer service experience, 3 in 10 (33%) said they post an online review. Conversely, after a poor customer service experience, 4 in 10 (42%) said they have posted an online review, with Gen Z (18-24) consumers the most likely to post a review after a poor experience (65% are somewhat likely and very likely). Younger Americans are also more likely to abandon a brand after a poor experience -- 65% of 18-24 and 61% of 25-40 said very or somewhat likely; only 33% of 41-56 and 19% of 57+ said very likely or somewhat likely.
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Other key findings include:
"Our survey provides a detailed look at consumers’ attitudes about dealing with customer service and contact centers. The results clearly show that, despite the ubiquity of technology in our daily lives and the automation of many business processes, you can’t take people out of customer service," said McKay Bird, chief marketing officer at TCN. "The survey also uncovers key trends about what consumers want most from customer service centers and insights about what doing a good job specifically looks like. Although contact centers have come a long way over the past three decades, there’s still room for improvement, and our survey highlights several key areas on which to focus."
Commissioned by TCN, the 2021 "Consumer Insights About Customer Service" survey was conducted by OnePoll, a marketing research company specializing in online quantitative research and polling, between May 14-21, 2021. Feedback was obtained from 1,000 U.S. adults
About Gabriel Marketing Group:
Gabriel Marketing Group is a boutique marketing and integrated communications firm 100% focused on high-growth technology companies.
Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2021
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