Consumers are getting fed up with poor customer service, according to Corvisa's survey of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers, which found that 48 percent of respondents have stopped doing business with a company due to negative customer service experiences in the past year.
Some frustrated customers reported going so far as yelling at the call center agent (18 percent) or hanging up the phone (40 percent).
Although the Internet has become a major avenue for communication, 41 percent of customers still rank phone calls as their top method of communicating with customer service; this number increases to 56 percent when customers are frustrated.
"Many businesses have a perception that better technology will pave the way for better customer service, but technology is only as good as the plans behind it," Katie Kregel, Corvisa vice president of marketing, told eWEEK. "We always advise our clients to truly understand their business processes and articulate the desired outcomes before taking any other actions. Be sure to include both IT and line-of-business members in this effort."
Kregel suggested that, as part of this exercise, it's important to take the time to walk in your customers' shoes, starting with a typical scenario and experiencing it firsthand.
"Whether it's picking up the phone to get a credit adjustment, sending a text to request more information or submitting a form via your Website, pick something and pretend you're a customer," she said. "Then ask simple questions, such as how much time did it take to get an answer, were there any particular frustrations you experienced, could you have gotten what you needed in a different way—like a self-service menu. After you go through this internal due diligence, you can better prioritize the issues that are hindering the customer experience and begin to identify where technology can have the most positive and immediate impact."
The survey revealed that 78 percent of respondents would hang up if they had to wait on hold for more than 15 minutes, and a quarter would be lost at just five minutes or less.
In fact, lowering hold times is an area that the majority of respondents (57 percent) believe businesses can improve upon—up 16 percent from Corvisa's 2014 report.
More than three-quarters (77 percent) of consumers said they are open to getting text messages from companies, particularly when it comes to fraud alerts (56 percent), reminders for things like payment, appointments, reservations and travel status (54 percent) and notification of sales, discounts or special promos (49 percent).