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Nearly half of consumers call ‘BS’ on a common customer service greeting

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Nearly half of consumers call ‘BS’ on a common customer service greeting

You don’t build a strong relationship based on lies, but brands may be putting their credibility with customers at risk if they suggest their service department is perpetually overwhelmed, according to recent data from ArenaCX.

The Raleigh, N.C,.-based outsourcing firm released the results of a survey it conducted with consumers about their service experiences amid COVID-19. Close to 50 per cent said they did not believe recorded greetings such as ‘We’re currently experiencing an unusually high call volume,” and 80 per cent don’t bother waiting around.

On the other hand, the ArenaCX data — which was based on responses from approximately 180 people across a wide range of ages — indicated there was a market for VIP-style programs where wait times were minimal. Fifty-six per cent said they would pay for such  a perk.

In a statement accompanying an infographic with the data, ArenaCX co-founder and CEO Doc Shufelt, said the concept of a no-wait premium should be a wake-up call to brands that their service experience is broken.

“Instead of simply relying on good management to hit high-level customer satisfaction metrics, brands must actually incorporate customer satisfaction into the heart of their operations – where performance actually affects the amount of interactions a given agent or team will handle. I’m proposing a complete overhaul of the way the customer service function is run, and clearly, there is a direct connection to increased revenue and customer retention for brands to do it.”

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This is one of those surveys where you have to ask yourself, “Do the other 50-plus per cent actually believe the call volumes are higher than normal?”

It’s possible that the challenges brought on by COVID-19 have made some consumers a bit more forgiving and/or sympathetic with contact centre staff. That said, ArenaCX’s study is like many others in that 70 per cent said they abandon a company after a negative experience.

Of course, the survey serves as a way to make the business case for outsourcing to a firm like ArenaCX, though that’s not the only option available to brands. There is no mention here, for instance, of using a chatbot to deal with lower-level issues or even IVR to assist with call deflection.

What many of brands with the “unusually high call volume” often overlook, meanwhile, is an opportunity to encourage customers to try channels other than the phone. This could include e-mail, social media or even text messages.

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One of the more entertaining aspects of the ArenaCX survey is the classic “would you rather” questions.  More than 50 per cent of Millennials and Gen Zers, for instance, told the firm they would rather get their teeth cleaned over dealing with customer service.

Instead of competing with the local dentist, I’d suggest companies put the bar a little higher: what might be the more coveted or desirable experiences that customers could be spending their time doing. Reaching out to your contact centre may never be as desirable, but perhaps it could offer a level of ease, speed and even friendliness that they won’t mind putting off their favourite activities for a few minutes of help.

The full infographic from ArenaCX is below.

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