Ho, Ho, Hold On: Poor Customer Service Has Consumers Not Feeling the Holiday Spirit

avatar

Half of the consumers in the U.S. stopped doing business with a company this year because of bad customer service according to the Aspect Consumer Experience Index survey. One reason could be because most of them said they feel underappreciated by the companies they do business with, up almost 20 percent from the year before. And unfortunately, things don’t look any better this holiday season: 54 percent of consumers said a bad customer service experience has added frustration to their holidays, which is also notably higher from the 2015 survey. consumer-experience-index-2016

Understandably, many consumers curb their enthusiasm for a good customer service experience during the flurry of Black Friday shopping and Cyber Monday mayhem. The main reason is that over half of the consumers in the survey feel companies are much harder to reach during the end of the year. This is a huge increase from 40 percent in 2015. The second biggest reason: grumpy customer service reps. And with over a quarter of Americans still preferring to eat a piece of last year’s fruitcake rather than contact customer service during the holidays, it’s clear customers are losing their appetite for substandard service.

The answer to easing the holiday hassle of contacting customers service could be the chatbot.

If unsatisfied shoppers were in the mood to give a holiday gift to their favorite brand, a chatbot might be high on their shopping lists. Many of the consumers surveyed said they really like the idea of using a chatbot for customer service and the majority of them say they feel good when they can handle a customer service issue without a live person.

Here’s why automated interaction is a holiday helper for brands: Chatbots don’t call in sick, and if designed correctly, are always consistent. Plus, they never get grumpy (Microsoft Tay being a lone exception). Half of the survey respondents said that they would rather conduct all brand interaction via text/messaging so with the ubiquitousness of SMS, Messenger and WhatsApp, an answer to a question or inquiry to an order can be just a short mobile message away.

Want proof that a chatbot just might make the perfect service stocking stuffer to give your favorite retailer? Half of consumers say that if a company could get it right they would prefer to conduct all brand interactions via text/messaging. And an overwhelming majority think that chatbots would be best to handle simple to moderate requests such as “where is my order?” and “Is this product in a store near me?”

Taking repetitive and easy-answer questions away from customer service reps would also free them up to spend more quality time with customers who have complex issues to solve like “what are the ingredients in the god awful fruitcake?” And isn’t quality time what the holidays are all about?