Some consumers actually prefer a trip to their local Department of Motor Vehicles rather than dealing with a company’s customer care department, according to a survey commissioned by customer interaction management vendor Aspect Software.

Four out of every ten customers would rather visit their Department of Motor Vehicles instead of contacting a customer care department, the survey revealed.  And when they choose to contact customer service departments, 64% of respondents indicated they don’t feel like they’re treated as valued customers. For 67%, automated responses are a big complaint, and 65% are frustrated by having to repeat themselves at various customer service touchpoints.

The online survey, conducted for Aspect by custom research agency TNS, polled 2,500 American adults 18 and older from Feb. 28 to March 3. About 2,100 of those surveyed had contacted customer service departments.

The survey uncovered a disconnect between customer expectations and how companies are actually using their multiple channels – 42% of customers, for example, would like companies to use social media for customer service instead of promoting their products. Despite the growing use of social media for customer relationship management, a mere 1% said that social media provides the best customer experience.

For customers who have used social media channels, only 7% said they offer the fastest resolution and best customer experience. But, the survey found that social media does have one clear customer value in relation to service: It can be used as a threat. The survey found that 16% of respondents acknowledged they have threatened to share their experience with others in their circles via social channels, and 9% have warned they would “broadcast their frustration” to anyone who would listen.

But the overall survey theme highlighted the fact that customers are not getting their problems solved, regardless of how many channels are involved.

Tim Dreyer, Aspect’s director of public and analyst relations, told Loyalty 360 that the biggest surprise in the survey was the gap in social customer service.

“There is a clear gap that exists between consumer expectations and companies’ use of social media for customer care,” Dreyer said. “We found that 42% of consumers said that they’d rather have companies use social media for good customer service than to promote their products. But only 1% feels social media provides the best customer experience. This gap is likely an indication that most companies have not started to embrace social media as a preferred channel for customer care.”

Dreyer believes the survey shows that today’s consumers want to take more control over their relationships with the companies they do business with.

“They want to use their channel of choice and want to be able to start an interaction on one channel and pick up where they left off on another,” Dreyer explained.

According to the survey, 77% of respondents said companies that offer multiple channels for care are easier to do business with and 74% said they provide better service.

“It’s not enough to simply offer multiple channels for customer service interactions,” Dreyer said. “The new gold standard will be the delivery of a consistent customer experience across any channel and any engagement - an experience that allows for the seamless transition of an interaction from phone to social to email without the customer ever feeling like they are a broken record.”

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