The Customer Service Fails Americans Put Up With

Being put on hold for too long, being transferred multiple times, and dealing with grumpy employees are just some of the poor customer service experiences Americans deal with, according to new research. The international poll of 3,000 respondents found that Americans are increasingly having to deal with negative customer service. In fact, 66 percent have experienced poor customer service — whether in a store, online or at a restaurant. It turns out, the most common negative customer service experience Americans have to contend with is being put on hold for too long. In fact, next to sitting in traffic, waiting on hold for customer service was reported as the most painful thing Americans have to deal with. Americans hate waiting so much that 32 percent said they would rather give up sex for an entire week -- than be in a customer service queue. And that's not all that Americans would rather do instead of being on hold with a customer service representative. Two in five said waiting for water to boil is more enjoyable, while three in 10 would rather wait for paint to dry. A study conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Bold360 by LogMeIn examined the customer service experiences and behaviors of 3,000 people from the U.S., U.K., Australia, India, France, and Germany and uncovered that across the world, 65 percent have admitted to dealing with negative customer service. So, what are these poor customer service experiences people are dealing with? In the U.S., 48 percent have had to deal with the seemingly never-ending experience of getting transferred over and over again, and 41 percent have had the misfortune of dealing with a grumpy employee. But that's not all. Two in five Americans have had a customer service representative abruptly hang up on them mid-conversation! Thirty-four percent have even gotten into a heated argument with a customer service representative. As a result of these poor customer service experiences, most consumers do take some type of action. Over half of the U.S. respondents (52 percent) never went back to that place of business after dealing with any kind of negative customer service, while 44 percent wrote a negative online review of that business. Unfortunately, dealing with customer service representatives is almost unavoidable. Americans report having to speak with a customer service representative an average of 300 times in a lifetime -- which equates to about five times a year. "We can certainly be an impatient society but waiting on hold for customer service is one of the most fundamentally frustrating aspects of our daily lives as consumers," said Ryan Lester, Senior Director, Customer Experience Technologies at LogMeIn. "We'll do anything to avoid it. So much so it's become cliché. Americans do find watching paint dry more appealing than calling into a contact center." And while dealing with customer service representatives is not something Americans enjoy, the time will come when they will need to reach out for help. The top way Americans prefer doing so - email. Over half (53 percent) said email is their preferred method of contacting a company with a customer service request or comment. Yet despite our hatred for waiting on hold, phone came in as the second most preferred method of communication with 49 percent revealing they would pick up the telephone to speak with a company regarding a customer service issue. Other preferred methods of customer service communication include live chat (48 percent), in person (46 percent), and social media (37 percent). Respondents aged 24-36 prefer communicating with companies via email or social media compared to other generations who prefer in person communication or a live chat option. "Businesses today succeed or fail based on the experience they provide to customers. As the needs and requirements of consumers continue to evolve at a rapid pace, technology is helping even the smallest companies take the pain away from traditional customer service." Lester said. "Whether it's offering additional engagement channels like email or live chat, or making self-service a more viable option, businesses need to see every interaction as an opportunity to delight their customers, rather than frustrate them."