Sue Shellenbarger’s column in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal offers some interesting data on the challenges facing our brave men and women at customer service centers across America.
According to a 20007 survey of more than 1,000 consumers conducted by Customer Care Measurement & Consulting of Alexandria Va., “70 percent of customers who have problems with a product or service are in a rage by the time they talk with customer-service workers; 24 percent yell, eight percent threaten to sue, and five percent start cursing.”
And that was back in ’07, when the economy was still fairly robust. Imagine what it’s like today when one in ten workers is out of a job and our nation is angrier than ever.
One can reasonably assume that this fever pitch is at least partially attributable to the piped-in muzak and assurances that “your call is very important to us” that one must endure for eternity while waiting to speak to an actual person.
Among the stats from the Customer Care Measurement & Consulting survey that I find most interesting:
While only one in four consumers stated their reason for calling was to secure financial compensation related to their complaint and a little over half (57 percent) demanded their money back, nearly three out of four (72 percent) called merely to express their anger and tell their side of the story.
Seventy percent wanted an apology and 69 percent wanted a “thank you for your business.”
In short, they wanted someone to listen to and appreciate them. (Don’t we all?)
And that’s tough work. According to the story, turnover at customer service centers ranges from 25 to 300 percent per year. Maybe that’s why companies today do such a poor job of serving their customers.
It’s tough work. It’s expensive. It’s a pain in the ass.
But it’s also something your customers value, and it’s something that most consumers will reward in the long run.
Are you committed?