New research from CX consulting firm The Northridge Group provides a clear message for businesses: today’s consumers are unforgiving when it comes to poor customer experience. In fact, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of consumers report they are likely to switch to a competitive brand after just one bad experience. And even the companies who think they’re doing it well may be overlooking flaws in their analysis.
The firm’s recently released State of Customer Service Experience report reveals that consumers want an effortless path to the resolution of their product and service issues—yet more than one-third of consumers still find it difficult to even establish contact with the company in question.
Consumers believe they are having to work too hard to resolve their issues.
- 60 percent experience difficulty navigating phone systems equipped with Interactive Voice Responses (IVR)
- 68 percent experience a long wait time to reach an agent
- 64 percent experience difficulty using websites
- 57 percent frequently have to repeat themselves to the customer service agent
- 30 percent frequently speak with an agent who isn’t friendly or polite
The reality is that just 53 percent of consumers report being able to resolve their issues the first time they contact a company. According to Pam Plyler, executive practice lead of customer experience at The Northridge Group, “Best practice is 85%+, so there is still much room for improvement.”
What gets measured gets done
The report suggests that businesses are overly optimistic about the experience they are delivering, possibly because theyaren’t adequately measuring customer effort. Feedback from business leaders indicates that, when measuring customer service effectiveness, only 25 percent of businesses even measure the customer effort required for issue resolution—despite the fact that advanced data analytics now makes it easy and efficient to measure customer effort compared to traditional surveys.
“If you’re not measuring it, you can’t manage it,” said Daren Moore, president of The Northridge Group, in a news release. “The measurement of customer effort is a crucial investment that promotes customer loyalty and prevents backlash.”
An astounding 86 percent of consumers report they tell others about bad experiences they have with companies and negative social media posts can quickly spiral out of control, causing permanent damage to a brand.
For complex issues phone is still king
According to the survey, real-time talk with a customer service rep still ranks at the top. Phone remains the fastest, easiest, and most preferred customer service channel. While digital channels made gains in 2019, preference for email has decreased during the same timeframe.
“Phone and online chat are perceived to provide a one-on-one service experience,” said Bryan Gillis, executive practice lead, Quality Solutions & Customer Analytics at The Northridge Group, in the release. “Consumers have the highest expectations for resolution and speed of response from live-assisted channels. Simple issues are often resolved on company websites but more complex situations require the human touch.”
Given that these interactions are more complex, it is critical that the level of quality, engagement, and personalization provided meets or exceeds the customers’ expectations. Why? Because…
The combined study of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers and more than 300 business leaders uncovered a significant discrepancy between how business leaders and consumers view investment priorities.