Infographic: Horrifying Customer Service Can Be Deadly

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Customer service has a grim reputation, and customers aren't putting up with these nightmare experiences anymore. According to the “Accenture 2013 Global Consumer Pulse Survey,” 51% of U.S. consumers switched service providers this past year due to frightful customer experiences, a 5% increase from last year. Consumer goods retailers, cable and satellite providers, and retail banks delivered the wickedest experiences. 

So what kinds of customer service experiences make customers' blood curdle the most? Seventy-four percent of U.S. customers say having to contact the company multiple times for the same reason is extremely frustrating, according to the survey. Customers also cite as extremely frustrating being on hold for a long time (69%), repeating the same information to multiple employees or through multiple channels (66%) and having a company deliver something other than what they promised (64%).

But customer service can't be blamed for customers' entire wrath. Marketing and sales are also responsible for the angst. Two thirds of U.S. respondents say realizing that a company cannot be trusted with how to use personal information they've provided is extremely frustrating, and one third of U.S. respondents say dealing with inconsistent experiences when using different channels is also extremely irritating. In addition, 54% of U.S. customers surveyed say dealing with employees who aren't knowledgeable or don't acknowledge specific needs or preferences when customers are making a purchase decision is extremely frustrating.

However, customers are willing to forgive monstrous experiences if companies try to make amends, according to the survey findings. The majority (82%) of global customers who switch providers say companies could have prevented them from going over to the dark side. For example, 68% of global customers say having a company resolve their issues in the first contact would have impacted their switching decision. Likewise, 55% of global respondents say having the company contact them proactively to inform them of ways to improve their experience would also have impacted their decision. As for the customers who aren't scared off by eerie experiences, they expect to be treated for their loyalty. In fact, 51% of U.S. customers expect specialized treatment for being a good customer.

 

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