Americans would rather shave their head than contact customer support

A quarter of Americans would rather shave their head than contact customer support, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 Americans (who have ever dealt with customer support) revealed 24% would prefer to shave their head than speak with customer service — and that’s not the only extreme some respondents are willing to go to.

Instead of trying to resolve an issue, respondents would rather do their taxes (30%), go to the dentist (28%) or go to the DMV (25%). Twenty-two percent would even choose a night in jail over dealing with a customer support representative.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Twilio Flex, the survey looked at the effect customer service can have on Americans’ habits — then it also dug into the current pain points people experience, to see why they might go to such extremes to avoid resolving their issue.

According to the survey results, 62% of respondents have stopped using a company or service specifically because of a bad customer support experience.

And the opposite is true as well: 80% of respondents are more likely to be loyal to a company in the future if they have a positive experience with their support team.

Results found negative experiences, unfortunately, tend to be more prevalent: it takes an average of three attempts and more than an hour and a half on hold — in order to solve just one issue with customer support.

Respondents spend 42 minutes on hold each time they contact customer service, which they have to do about three times per issue.

But even once they are able to speak with a representative, their issue is resolved less than half the time — with an average success rate of only 46%.

Two-thirds (65%) of those surveyed said it “doesn’t feel worth it” to get an issue resolved, due to the time and effort it takes.

When asked about specific pain points, needing to repeat details of an issue to a new representative after being transferred or disconnected (45%) was revealed to cause the most frustration for respondents.

That was followed by needing to contact a company multiple times to get an issue resolved (42%) — and having only one option for a communication method (email, phone, etc.) to reach a customer support representative (40%).

And all the frustrations that come with contacting customer service might be why 66% of respondents delay reaching out.

For those who delay contacting someone after an issue arises, the average respondent waits for a little over two weeks — or about 16 days.

This has caused respondents to get stuck in unwanted contracts because they miss the cancellation window (46%), miss the return window for products (44%) and even lose money on an item or service (41%).

“A major root cause of bad customer service is enabling technology that isn’t built to meet today’s customer expectations,” said Simonetta Turek, GM of Customer Experience Products, including Flex, Twilio’s contact center solution. “Representatives aren’t equipped to deliver seamless and contextual experiences when they’re using outdated technology not designed foremost with the customer experience and customer journey in mind. This results in a poor experience for both the representatives and customers.”

What would help solve the common frustrations? Respondents would like it if representatives had access to relevant information to better serve them, so they don’t have to repeat themselves if transferred (54%).

In addition to that, people surveyed want to be able to solve their issue without speaking on the phone to a live person (52%) and have multiple ways to contact support to get their issue resolved (51%).

Results also found that — of those who currently delay reaching out to customer service — 84% said they’d be less likely to do so if they had multiple ways to contact them.

“Customers expect a different experience from businesses — one that is personalized from the very first interaction, from the point of sale all the way to when they reach out for assistance,” said Turek. “Businesses need to take advantage of the technology available to provide these end-to-end experiences. These include easy to implement omni-channel functionality, shared context across contact center representatives and other customer-facing personnel, such as retail floor associates, and providing personalized offers and relevant product or service information. Those that don’t adopt new channels and maximize the value of existing customer information will lose out on loyalty and ongoing business opportunities.”


  • Having to repeat details of the issue to a new representative after being transferred or being disconnected — 45%

  • Having to contact a company multiple times to get an issue resolved — 42%

  • Only having one option in which to reach a customer support representative (ex. needing to call or email; not having a live chat or SMS option) — 40%

  • Not being able to reach a live person quickly — 39% (tied)

  • Spending time on hold listening to bad music while — 39% (tied)

  • Poor connection resulting in getting disconnected or having a hard time hearing the representative — 37%

  • Not being able to resolve an issue online — 30%

  • Navigating the button options (“press two for xx”)  — 28%

  • Limited times in which I can call for help — 24%


  • The representative has access to relevant information to their issue, so they don’t have to repeat themselves when transferred — 54%

  • Being able to solve their issue without speaking on the phone to a live person (through text, online live chat, self-service online etc.) — 52%

  • Having multiple ways to contact customer support (phone call, SMS text, Whats App, online live chat) — 51%

  • Clear directions on how to get connected to a live person quickly — 47%

  • Being able to solve their issue online — 39%