Everyone Hates Customer Service. This Is Why.

This was the headline of a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. Naturally, I was drawn in to learn more about consumer sentiment towards customer service and to read about what methods companies are testing in this area. This article, however, took a different approach and examined how companies are using data and AI technology to determine exactly how angry a customer has to be before they leave or drop their services—AKA what it takes to reach their breaking point.

Some of the tactics and technologies focus on tracking how long a customer will wait for a human to answer the phone, how many ads they will tolerate, the sweet spot for on-hold time, number of calls made, etc. The idea is to equip companies with the steps they must take to keep shoppers loyal—and which they can skip.

One executive in the article said, “There is more data available on just how disgruntled someone can be.” I love this. Not the disgruntled part, but the available data part. This is at the heart of excellent customer service—using the data available to understand, and subsequently act on, what makes customers happy and loyal. 

It’s an interesting way to dissect the treasure trove of data companies have available, but I’d be remiss not to urge brands to focus their time, money and resources on the items and strategies that actually cultivate loyalty, retention and positive customer experiences. This is the key to crushing the customer experience! 

Don’t get me wrong, any way brands use data to improve customer interactions is a good thing. We just prefer to work with companies on methods for efficiently engaging with customers to provide them with a positive experience that ultimately improves loyalty. In fact, Douglas Greene just covered this in last week’s blog where he explored how customer engagement directly impacts churn and retention. He also delved into how companies are upping their customer service strategies to retain customers, noting, “Just by listening to what your best customers are asking for can make a tremendous difference in your business”.

As I always say, the devil is in the data [details] and if your brand is asking why your customers hate customer service, then you’re doing it wrong. Focus on the things that matter to customers—being treated like an individual, receiving content and offers that are relevant and timely, and interactions that leave lasting (positive!) impressions.