More Customer Service Heartbreak

Share this content:
Bad customer service is rampant. Young people are so used to lousy service they've come to expect it. A new survey from Ernan Roman Direct Marketing found that bad customer care call center experiences negatively affect a person's perception of the company (83 percent), likelihood to recommend the company to others (77 percent) and willingness to buy from that company (72 percent). That can really hurt the bottom line, so why don't companies do more?

As Don Libey wrote in a two-part DM Views piece for us last month, customer service has eroded over the past two decades to where today's customer has almost "zero expectations as a learned and conditioned response." Don says the feedback he received was probably the most he's gotten on any article he has written. Don cited three influences: expectation, the Internet and price. I'll add three more:

1. Call center hell. Who likes being treated like a number? "Press one for this." "Press two for that." If this automation isn't annoying enough, employers know call center workers will leave after a few months so they don't invest the time, training and money that's needed. This is why respondents to Ernan's survey used words like "frustrating," "exasperating" and "wasted time" when describing their customer care experiences.

2. CRM and online illusions. To avoid call center hell, we go online and revel in the illusion that our wishes are being fulfilled instantaneously when in all actuality, nothing's happening. Companies bought applications, but software can't fix the problem, either.

3. Lifetime value? Fuggedaboutit. Companies are too focused on the short-term bottom line. "We're not acting like we understand that it's seven to 10 times more expensive to get a new customer versus servicing an existing one," Ernan told me. "Instead, companies are missing two very important metrics: customer satisfaction and lifetime value. If we measure those properly, sales follow."

With young people, Don and Ernan had similar thoughts. Don said that if they've only known zero customer service, then that's the norm. Ernan said young people were "raised" on automated menus and are less likely to have their opinions of a company swayed by poor experiences. If this is true, it sounds like we have only one thing to look forward to.

If you're interested in taking Ernan Roman's survey, go to and click on "Customer Care Call Center Survey" at the bottom left of the home page.


Next Article in Marketing Strategy

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Brightcove is the world's leading video platform. The most innovative and respected brands confidently rely on Brightcove to solve their most demanding communication challenges because of the unmatched performance and flexibility of our platform, our global scale and reliability, and our award-winning service. With thousands of customers and an industry-leading suite of cloud video products, Brightcove enables customers to drive compelling business results.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above