If it seems that all customers ever do is complain, a recent survey sheds some light on the realities. According to the eighth Customer Rage Survey, an endeavor first conducted in 1976, 56 percent of people reported customer problems in 2017, a steady increase in recent years (and way up from 32 percent 40 years ago). That comes to more than 62 million families experiencing at least one issue — with a whole lot of anger and frustration as a result.
Cable/satellite TV was at the top of the list for engendering a negative response, though digging deeper into the data could help product and service providers of all kinds: Only 23 percent of those surveyed were happy with just an apology when something went awry. Satisfaction rose to 73 percent when there was both an apology and some sort of monetary relief.
The phone is still the primary way to complain, but negative word-of-mouth on social media now reaches an average of 825 people.
Finally, the customer service tactics customers hate the most include automated technology without the chance to speak to a live person; the “try to sell you something” response; agents with accents; and outsourcing. Best suggestions, on the other hand? Not making customers repeat the issue to multiple people, and offering an efficient, polite, positive response that is consistent with expectations.
The study, which included phone interviews of 1,000 people, was conducted by Customer Care Measurement and Consulting in collaboration with the Center for Services Leadership, a research center within the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, SaaS vendor Confirmit and the Bernett Group, a marketing research agency.