A new report from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business tells us Americans are less happy with the customer service we receive. With many of us headed to shopping centers and malls to wrap up Christmas shopping, we may become keenly aware of this trend.
The number of households experiencing “customer rage” - they were very or extremely upset about the company response when they complained - jumped to 68 percent from 60 percent in the last survey, in 2011.
More are expressing that rage by yelling and cursing at customer-service representatives than two years ago. Yelling rose to 36 percent from 25 percent of the time, while cursing jumped to 13 percent from 7 percent.
Other key findings from the 2013 Customer Rage Survey:
• The percentage of people with customer service problems rose to 50 percent from 45 percent.
• Most of those who complained (56 percent) said they got absolutely nothing as a result, up 9 percentage points.
• The product most often responsible for enraging us is cable or satellite TV.
• Though many people associate the government with customer-service issues, 98 percent of the most serious problems stemmed from private companies.
These are important numbers. Solve a problem and a business can create a loyal customer who will tell 10 to 16 others about your company. Misfire, and the enemies a business creates will each tell an average of 28 people about their terrible experience.
It turns out that bad customer service is worse than no customer service. People who receive poor response become 12 percent less brand loyal than if they didn’t bother to complain at all.
All this aside, we must put our shopping experiences in the proper prospective. The meaning of the holidays doesn’t not involve roaming the aisles of some big store. It is about friends and family.
Those clerks and customer service personnel have the same hopes for the season as do the shoppers.
If we all took ourselves less seriously, then perhaps we wouldn’t be getting all bent out of shape.