Fewer people are contacting customer service than they have in prior years but that doesn't make it any less important, according to a November 2017 survey of US internet users from enterprise cloud contact center and workforce optimization solution company Aspect.
Indeed, the survey found that contact with customer service declined by 7 percentage points between 2015 and 2017.
But top-notch customer service should still be a priority for brands—their bottom lines might depend on it. In 2016, 49% of respondents in the Aspect survey said they stopped doing business with a company because of a bad experience. That rate climbed to 54% one year later.
And millennials are more likely to turn their backs. According to Aspect, 61% of respondents ages 18 to 34 stopped doing business with a company in 2017 due to poor customer service, up from 53% who said the same in 2016.
Interestingly, many respondents didn't care if their customer service help came from a live agent or a chatbot. They just wanted the situation handled quickly and accurately.
That said, there are various customer service methods that they don't find very appealing. Interactive voice response systems is one of them: Nearly four in 10 respondents said they would "rather clean a toilet" than use that approach. Other unappealing methods included social, voice-enabled speakers like Amazon's Echo or Google Home and chatbots on mobile.
That's a good thing to know for retailers who have been experimenting with chatbots to help resolve consumer-facing issues, as well as for those who are looking to automated customer services to boost retail sales.
Nevertheless, if an experience is bad, it's bad. Separate data from the CMO Council, which echoed Aspect's sentiments, found that nearly half of internet users worldwide polled in Q4 2016 said they would stop doing business with a brand that frustrates them. By comparison, about one-third said they would send a complaint to the company.