This season won’t be winter wonderland for brands, as consumers are saying that good customer service is not a present they anticipate getting this year. And they’re not really that sorry about their lack of holiday spirit about it either, as only one in five Americans feel bad about being rude to a customer service agent.
Their lack of sympathy for the stress of the customer service agent may be because they feel justified given their low expectations of holiday care.
According to a survey, commissioned by Aspect (News - Alert) Software, of 2,500 Americans, of which 2,201 have contacted customer service:
• More than a third would rather eat last year’s fruitcake than contact customer service during the holidays.
• Another 74 percent say it’s more of a hassle to contact customer service during this time than any other time of the year.
• 91 percent believe customer service should be better prepared for the holidays, but only 36 percent have higher expectations of customer service during this time of year.
A lot of the consumers we surveyed are taking more control over their experience. Some of them are doing all they can to avoid customer service altogether, with nearly one in four of them saying they would rather give cash than deal with customer service during the holidays. This is an alarming number for retailers.
Many of the people we queried are planning on moving to different channels if they do contact brands during the season. While nearly half say phone is the best channel to contact customer service during the year, only 33 percent say the same of the holidays. This drop is due to more consumers saying chat, e-mail, text, social and in-person are the best channels during the holidays (67 percent) compared to year-round (52 percent).
Obviously consumers are looking for more from the companies they do business with and not only during the holidays, but throughout the year. And as they take more control over their relationships with those companies, delivering a consistent and exceptional customer experience is essential, especially with low expectations for retail sales and the shortened shopping season this year.
Jim Freeze is CMO at Aspect (www.aspect).
Edited by Stefania Viscusi