Would you rather go to the dentist or call customer service?

Here’s a hard-to-believe statistic:

Forty-eight percent of Americans would rather go to the dentist than call customer service.

OUCH! It seems like going to the dentist for a filling or root canal is better than calling customer service. This statistic comes directly from 2021 Customer Wonder Study we led this year. We surveyed over 1,000 consumers to find out what they liked and hated about customer service. What would make them return or end their relationship with the brand or company? But let’s go back to this statistic for a moment.

The following horror story has happened to all of us.

You spend 10 minutes searching a company’s website for a customer service phone number that you end up finding in small print on an obscure page. You make the call and are put on hold for an unreasonable amount of time. The music on hold is terrible, and they don’t tell you how long it’s going to last. You just wait and wonder. Someone finally answers. You find it hard to understand them. It may not be a hard accent to understand. You may hear hundreds of other customer service agents in the background, making it difficult to hear the agent you are talking to.

You take the time to tell the agent your name, address, the last four digits of your social security number, your mother’s maiden name, and the answer to a security question. Then another five minutes to explain your story. The agent keeps saying, “I am sorry,” so many times that it loses its impact and seems hypocritical. You hope this is the person to help you, but your dreams are shattered when the officer says: “I’m sorry, this is not my department.” From there, they transfer you to someone they think is best equipped to help you.

And then it starts again! The next agent and the experience is no better than the previous one. Finally, you ask to speak to a supervisor. Yes you did! Admit it! I can go on, but you get the idea.

First, no one wants to call customer support. They don’t want to have a problem forcing them to do something they didn’t plan to do. But it does happen, and when it does, you can’t offer your customers anything that resembles the experience I just described.

So, do you want to know what’s important to customers? Here is a look at some of the results of the ACA study. Customers want:

  • employees who know the products and services a company sells
  • kind and helpful employees
  • the ability to reach the right customer support person
  • convenience – a simple and hassle-free experience
  • quick answers to their customer support questions from an email, message or text

These are some of the basics! And for most of us, that is common sense. Unfortunately, they’re not always as common as they should be. But successful businesses thrive in front of laggards in customer service. Read more statistics and facts in the ACA 2021 study that will guide you in your decisions as you improve your customer service. The information revealed by the survey is your motivation for delivering an amazing customer experience.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling trade author. For more information on The Customer Focus ™ customer service training programs, visit www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright © MMXXI, Shep Hyken)

Joseph P. Harris