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CorvisaCloud-Response-to-Negative-Customer-Service-Experiences-Nov2013Consumers react to negative customer service experiences in a number of ways, and while many voice their frustrations, a significant proportion express a good deal of patience and understanding, according to a recent survey [pdf] from CorvisaCloud. Asked which of a list of reactions best explained what they would do if they had a negative customer service experience, 1 in 5 said they’d share their experience with friends or family (16%) or on social media (4%). But some also said they’d give the company another shot (12%) or do nothing and just move on (10%).

Of course, negative customer service experiences to carry risks: about 1 in 8 respondents said they’d never shop with the company again. (The leading response was to complain or ask for a manager, cited by 34% of respondents.) Wondering why more don’t abandon a company after a negative service experience? It takes about 2 bad experiences (across any channel) on average for Americans to abandon a brand – at least a retail brand – according to new survey results from Kronos.

Meanwhile, the CorvisaCloud study shows that reactions to positive experiences range from giving feedback to the company (31%) and continuing to shop with the company – perhaps more (29%) to singing the company’s praises to friends and family (14%) and posting about it on social media (3%). Close to 1 in 6 said they’d do nothing about it.

A study released earlier this year by ZenDesk suggested that bad experiences are more likely to be shared than good ones. Although this latest survey doesn’t appear to support those findings at first glance, the survey methodology is very different (participants were asked to choose only one reaction) and therefore not comparable.

So what roils customers the most when speaking to customer service agents? There doesn’t seem to be a clear leader. 1 in 5 respondents said the most aggravating experience they’ve ever encountered was having to repeat the same information multiple times on a call. But a significant proportion pointed to the wait time prior to being helped (16%), speaking to an unknowledgeable person (15%) and being transferred to multiple agents on one call (14%).

As for that wait time: consumers seem to be fairly patient. About 7 in 10 respondents said they’d wait longer than 5 minutes before hanging up, although the majority of those would hang up by the 15-minute mark.

Other Findings:

  • The most common reason for speaking with customer service is to troubleshoot a problem (64%).
  • Out of 5 named industries, 31% chose cable and internet providers as having the worst customer service, with wireless providers (14%) next.

About the Data: CorvisaCloud polled 1,109 adults in the US via Zogby Analytics between August 20 and August 23, 2013. The margin of error is +/- [3.1] percentage points.

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