Customer Rage May Be The New Normal in 2016

According to a study carried out by Total Tech News, a shocking percentage of customer service interactions ended in frustration and fury this year, and there doesn’t seem to be much sign of change around the corner.

The study alleges that, out of all the customer service interactions involved, a full two-thirds resulted in the customer feeling “rage” and 63% resulted in “no sense of satisfaction or resolution at all”.

While it seems like customer service is always improving Рespecially with traditionally terrible companies like Ryanair and EA Games making dramatic, well-publicised overhauls of their customer service departments and attitudes Рit is also easy to forget that dissatisfaction is at the heart of a great many customer service experiences.

We’ve written before about the frustration inherent in calling customer service departments, and the long list of considerations to remember if you want the call to go smoothly, but with so many companies talking about their legendary customer service, their improvement plans and the little things that make them special, it’s easy to forget the bad in favour of the good.

The study by Total Tech brings us back to reality a little with some sobering statistics: in the weeks after Christmas, 54% of people will have to get in touch with customer service, and with dissatisfaction and even rage seemingly so high, the end result is an unhappy, frustrated mess.

Companies are attempting to remedy this situation with temporary Christmas staff, particularly in customer service and storefront departments, and with increased investment in training and equipment for the customer service staff in question, but there’s always more to improve.

If you’re involved with customer service yourself, there are a few ways to help avoid potential customer explosions:

  • Attempting to minimise use of automated greeters and hold systems
  • Avoiding overused or annoying “corporate” phrases like “Your call is important to us. Please hold.”
  • Minimising “funnel systems” that slowly, laboriously sort callers into categories
  • Using social media for quick, efficient replies to customer queries
  • Responding to customers as promptly as possible
  • Equipping customer service reps with the computer systems, knowledge and ability to proactively solve customer issues without calling for help

As a customer, the checklist of ways to get through a customer service interaction with your temper intact is simpler still.

  • Use social media, email or write in – don’t phone! No phone call, no hold times.
  • Know exactly the outcome you want going in, to give yourself a concrete goal.
  • Do some research into your problem, the product and your rights as a consumer so you know what you’re talking about.
  • If writing in, address your complaint to a specific person – and¬†proofread it.

If the stars align right, you might just get out of your customer service experience with your dignity, temper and phone intact – but if Total Tech are right, I wouldn’t bet on it.