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47% of Americans Would Switch Providers After One Bad Customer Service Experience

Phillip Dampier February 16, 2016 Competition, Consumer News 10 Comments

Press “1” for inconvenience.

At least half of the country would switch their cable, telephone, or satellite company in a matter of days after a bad customer service experience, if they could.

[24]7’s newly published 2016 Customer Engagement Index surveyed 3,500 customers globally, including 1,200 U.S. respondents, to understand what drives customer behaviors. The survey quickly identified cable and satellite providers among the worst offenders, and for good reason. Customer satisfaction scores for telecom companies continue to rest at the bottom of the barrel.

The survey found almost half were ready to bolt after a single bad experience dealing with customer service, whether it was with a dead-end interactive voice response menu that took them nowhere, to long hold times, to being asked the same questions over and over again as their call is transferred, to unresponsive customer service agents that never resolved the issue to a customer’s satisfaction.

Millennials increasingly prefer to work with self-service options and tolerate a ponderous experience with telephone-based customer service less. Having a website or app that can manage your account is well-appreciated by a growing number of customers that dread having to call anyone to resolve a problem.

“The way customers engage with brands has dramatically shifted, yet many enterprises’ approach to customer service and sales is stuck in yesterday’s paradigm,” [24]7 founder and CEO PV Kannan said in a statement. “For this reason, it’s more important than ever for brands to be where their customers are, and allow them to engage on their own terms. Companies that fail to prioritize the customer experience risk falling behind.”

Right now cable and satellite companies are failing a lot of their customers, scoring lowest with only a 59% customer satisfaction score. Internet providers only score marginally better at 63%.

cust satis

Anger at poor service has led to 47% of consumers saying that they would take their business to a competitor within one day (if price and products are of equal value), while 79% say they would do it within one week. Millennials and GenX customers are less patient than Baby Boomers and those in the Greatest Generation.

Lucky for telecom companies many customers don’t have anywhere else to take their business. For most, finding a provider offering at least 25Mbps broadband that isn’t the cable company is impossible. Many phone companies don’t offer competing cable television and broadband is a problem if you subscribe to satellite TV. That may explain why many Comcast customers don’t believe the cable company is trying hard enough to improve customer service. They don’t have to.

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Michael Elling
Guest

After 25 years of studying communication and application markets I’ve noticed something akin to radioactive decay when it comes to UX. Something like an extra-step law of demand or ESLD.

ESLD: if you add another step/delay to a process you lose half your addressable audience.

So 3 steps or delays means you end up with 1/8th or 12% of the original addressable market. This research would appear to support this assertion.

Joe V
Guest
Joe V

People are fed up. That’s why this is happening.

Case in point : The state of Tennessee.

If AT&T loses the fight in Tennessee to stop municipal broadband its going set a precedence for the rest of the country that want better choices. I can imagine broadband CEOs aren’t getting much sleep these days. Their gravy train is about to be cut off.

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