Got a Beef with Customer Service?


When it comes to customer service, most people agree on a couple of things: They aren't very satisfied with the level of attention they get now -- and they wouldn't want to be the person whose job it is to keep customers happy.

Those are among the findings of our May 17 Reader Survey.

Some 77% of the more than 400 people who responded characterized their customer-service experiences over the past 12 months as either fair or poor, vs. the 20% who said their experience had been good. Some 38% said that service had worsened during the economic downturn, but 47% said that it remained unchanged, and 10% think it improved.

Given a list of seven types of companies to rate, some 28% of respondents said they get the best service at restaurants. The next-highest finishers, in descending order, were: e-commerce Web sites, chain-store retailers, auto dealers, phone companies, computer companies, and government offices.

NO SECOND CHANCE. The people who responded don't have much patience with bad service: Some 94% say they've stopped using a company's products or services after a bad experience, some 57% say they don't give an offending company a second chance (though 37% sometimes do), and 76% complain when they've been maltreated.

The biggest beefs with customer-service operations are unfriendly or uninformed reps, plus slowness in dealing with a problem. Logically, given how demanding they are as consumers, some 62% of those who replied wouldn't want to be a customer-service rep, vs. the 34% who said they would like to be, or at least would give the job a try.

Here are the complete details of the survey, which wasn't a scientific poll, since anyone who wished to could participate:

Taking into account all of your experiences during the past 12 months, how would you rate the level of customer service you've experienced on average?

Option

Total

%

Extremely good

6

1.47 %

Good

84

20.64 %

Fair

160

39.31 %

Poor

155

38.08 %

No opinion

2

0.49 %

Of the following types of companies, where have you had the best customer-service experience?

Option

Total

%

Auto dealers

30

7.44 %

Phone companies

23

5.71 %

Computer companies

20

4.96 %

Chain-store retailers

53

13.15 %

Government offices

11

2.73 %

E-commerce Web sites

59

14.64 %

Restaurants

114

28.29 %

Other

46

11.41 %

None

47

11.66 %

Have you ever quit using a company's products or services because of a bad customer-service experience?

Option

Total

%

Yes

380

94.53 %

No

17

4.23 %

Don't know

5

1.24 %

In such situations, have you ultimately given the company a second chance?

Option

Total

%

Yes

148

36.72 %

No

230

57.07 %

Don't recall

25

6.20 %

When you have a bad customer-service experience, do you complain to the offending party?

Option

Total

%

Yes

307

76.18 %

No

96

23.82 %

What's your biggest beef with customer service (assuming you have one)?

Option

Total

%

Slow response time

54

13.37 %

Uninformed customer-service representatives

80

19.8 %

Unfriendly customer-service representatives

84

20.79 %

Inferior products that require too much handholding from customer service

6

1.49 %

All of the above

171

42.33 %

I don't have a beef with the customer service I've experienced

9

2.23 %

During the economic durnturn, do you feel that customer service:

Option

Total

%

Improved

41

10.17 %

Got Worse

154

38.21 %

Didn't change either way

189

46.9 %

No opinion

19

4.71 %

If given the option, would you want to be a customer-service representative?

Option

Total

%

Yes

79

19.46 %

No

252

62.07 %

Maybe

61

15.02 %

Don't know

14

3.45 %


We Almost Lost the Nasdaq
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW

(enter your email)
(enter up to 5 email addresses, separated by commas)

Max 250 characters

 
blog comments powered by Disqus