SOURCE: Aspect Software

Aspect Software

November 20, 2013 10:00 ET

The Holiday Customer Service Hassle: Consumers Neither Holly nor Jolly About Customer Care This Season

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwired - Nov 20, 2013) -

  • Nearly four in ten would rather eat year-old fruit cake than deal with customer care

  • Consumer sentiment that customer service is a bigger hassle during holidays presents loyalty, revenue challenges for companies

  • Move to email, online chat and in-person during holidays versus the rest of the year indicate consumers are taking more ownership of the service experience

Aspect Software, a leading provider of fully-integrated customer interaction management, workforce optimization, and back-office solutions, today announced new survey results revealing more than a third of Americans (37 percent) would rather eat year-old fruit cake than have to contact customer service during the holidays. Perhaps this is because three out of four (74 percent) consumers think this experience is more of a hassle at this time than any other time of year -- sentiments that may be hard to swallow for companies hoping for strong holiday season sales. 

These customer service frustrations may be driving consumers to take more control of their experience by moving to different channels. While phone is voted the best channel during the holidays (33 percent) and throughout the year (48 percent), some consumers are venturing elsewhere this holiday season. 

  • 25 percent say in-person and email are the best ways to interact with customer service during the holidays, whereas just 21 percent say these channels are best at other times of the year. 
  • Online chats may rise, with 15 percent saying it's the best channel during the holidays versus just 9 percent that think this throughout the year.
  • And, to brands' dismay, some plan on avoiding customer service altogether. Nearly four-in-ten (38 percent) admit they gift cash during the holidays solely to avoid having to deal with customer service altogether.

"There continues to be frustration that companies cannot seem to provide quick and seamless customer service and it's pushing consumers to take greater control of their experience. And many of these approaches such as avoiding customer service completely, are proof that providing subpar experiences could be negatively impacting companies' seasonal revenues," says Jim Freeze, chief marketing officer at Aspect. "With the year-end season being a critical time for industries from retail and foodservice to hospitality and travel, companies must offer consistent and exceptional customer experiences, across channels and year-round, to break the holiday service stigma."

A missed opportunity
Frustrations aside, it's clear consumers think brands need to go back to the workshop when it comes to holiday service as a resounding 91 percent think customer service should be better prepared for the holidays. And while some may commiserate with the blight of a customer service agent, consumers by and large admit they don't feel that bad about their lack of holiday spirit. Only one in five Americans (20 percent) say they've felt guilty about being rude to a customer service agent. 

"These frustrations, clearly heightened during the shorter holiday season, are a direct result of the struggle brands continue to have addressing this growing consumer empowerment. However this 'relationship revolution' is also an invitation for companies to surprise and delight them with great service," continues Freeze. "Companies need to align their people, processes and customer touch points in a way that equips their agents with the right information, and allows customers to interact with those agents seamlessly across their preferred channels with out having to repeat themselves or start the conversation over."

To view the infographic 'Customer Service is a Holiday Hassle' visit: http://blogs.aspect.com/?p=5838

About the survey
An online omnibus survey was administered among a demographically representative national sample of 2,500 American adults 18 and older, of which 2,201 have contacted customer service. The survey was conducted from October 9 to October 13, 2013. Data for this study are tested for statistical difference at a 95 percent confidence level. Data are weighted to reflect accurate representation of the population.

About TNS
TNS is the world's largest custom research agency delivering insights and research-based business advice to its clients so they can make more effective business decisions. TNS offers comprehensive industry knowledge within the many different industry sectors, supported by a unique product offering that stretches across the entire range of marketing and business issues, specializing in product development & innovation, brand & communication, stakeholder management, retail & shopper, and qualitative research. TNS is part of the Kantar Group.

About Aspect
Aspect's fully-integrated solution unifies the three most important facets of modern contact center management: customer interaction management, workforce optimization, and back-office. We help the world's most demanding contact centers seamlessly align their people, processes and touch points to deliver remarkable customer experiences. For more information, visit www.aspect.com.

Follow Aspect on Twitter at @AspectSoftware. Read our blogs at http://blogs.aspect.com.

Aspect, the Aspect logo, are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Aspect Software, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries. The names of other companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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