Is technology to blame for worsening customer service?
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If you’ve ever wanted to complain to customer service — about customer service — you’re not alone.
According to the National Customer Rage Survey released last month, 74% of Americans reported having a problem with a product or service in the past year, a percentage which has more than doubled since 1976.
The survey found that customers’ biggest frustration was having to sit through long prompts before being able to talk to a real person.
“People are having difficulty having what I would describe as an authentic interaction,” said Scott Broetzmann with Customer Care Measurement and Consulting, who spearheaded the survey.
Broetzmann blames much of the problem on companies and products relying more on automation and technology.
He notes that by relying on technology for customer service, companies could be “inadvertently setting up more barriers to consumers.”
“Technology, for all of its benefits that it affords us, when it comes to having a problem and trying to get it resolved, in many cases it serves as an impediment,” Broetzmann said.
Customer patience, he added, is growing thinner, an issue that may be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Eight percent of people said that one of the primary causes for the increase in incivility was related to the stress and strife associated with COVID,” Broetzmann said.
According to the survey, 43% of customers reported yelling or raising their voice, and roughly one in 10 are interested in “seeking revenge” against employees.
Social media is also providing a megaphone for frustrated customers. The number of people posting complaints, and shaming companies online, has more than doubled since 2020.
So what can people do?
“Be kinder,” Broetzmann said. “I think a customer care experience from both sides, from the employee side and from the customer side, would benefit greatly from a good dose of kindness.”