For most Americans, customer service conjures thoughts of an irritating maze of phone menus, call flows, and transfers, followed by scripted voices with strange accents belonging to people halfway around the world who can do little to resolve problems. That description is supported by research.
Two-thirds of consumers (67 percent) have hung up during service calls before their particular issues could be addressed, a recent survey by Consumer Reports found. Seventy-one percent were "tremendously annoyed" at not being able to get a real person on the phone, and 56 percent were just as annoyed after having to jump through multiple phone hoops to get the right information.
There is nothing unusual or surprising about a study that reveals American consumers are unhappy with the customer service they receive. Other surveys have uncovered similar levels of dissatisfaction for years. What is surprising is that so little has been done to remedy the problem, and that needs to change—fast.
"Companies are no longer just in the business of selling goods and services; they are in the business of selling a customer experience," says Mark Johnson, CEO of Loyalty 360, the Loyalty Marketer's Association. "Especially in today's challenging marketplace, brands that excel at delivering an experience that engages customers by creating and maintaining a strong emotional connection with them will have a distinct competitive advantage."