ROSEMONT, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Regardless of the many ways today’s consumers can reach out to companies for service, many are still not feeling the love. The Northridge Group’s State of Customer Service Experience 2017 report, its third annual survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents, reveals that consumers are increasingly frustrated by how much effort is required to get the help they need from companies:
- At least 50% of consumers say they do not feel companies make it easy to contact them.
- While most consumers still prefer the phone for mission-critical issues, more than 70% experience long wait times and have trouble navigating the automated system to reach a live agent.
- As consumers migrate to digital channels, 57% of consumers frequently have trouble finding answers on a company’s website.
- And despite social media increasing as a preferred channel among consumers, 25% never even receive a response when they contact a company through social media. That’s up from 21% in 2016.
Companies Are Leaving Money on the Table—and Risking Brand Reputation
“Seems like many companies have missed the memo on the importance of a well-executed, customer-centric service model and the business costs are real,” reflects Pam Plyler, Executive Practice Lead of Customer Experience at The Northridge Group. “More than half of consumers we surveyed (51%) say they’re willing to spend more with a company that provides an excellent customer experience. Yet 64% of those same consumers report frustration about being asked to repeat their information to customer service representatives multiple times, and 35% say they frequently experience service agents who are impolite and unfriendly. The financial repercussions are hard to ignore, with 81% of consumers reporting they’d likely stop doing business with a company after a poor service experience, and of those unhappy consumers, only half (53%) may return,” adds Plyler. The majority of those surveyed (60%) report sharing their unpleasant customer service interaction with family and friends. “It’s a simple concept. By making it easier for customers to efficiently connect with businesses about service issues, companies can significantly increase customer satisfaction, protect brand reputation, reduce costs and grow profitability.”
Companies That Invest in Digital Will Win
While some channels like email are declining in use for customer service, other digital technologies are emerging to fill the gap between existing tools and evolving customer needs. In fact, about half of consumers are likely to use an Interactive Virtual Assistant (IVA) to contact a company in the coming year. “Companies have a vested interest in staying in sync with evolving customer service technology and getting the design and delivery of digital channels right,” says Daren Moore, President of The Northridge Group. “As consumers move from traditional phone to digital channels and other emerging technologies to get the help they need, companies that focus on channel usability and ease of resolution will have a distinct competitive advantage.”
To download the full 2017 report, visit this page.
The Northridge Group is a leading management consulting firm specializing in customer experience solutions, quality monitoring services and business transformation initiatives, utilizing advanced data analytics and business process redesign to deliver results. Founded in 1999, the firm serves Fortune 200 clients in the healthcare, telecom, financial services, travel and transportation industries, as well as key government agencies. For more information on The Northridge Group, visit www.northridgegroup.com.