How to Lose a Customer Fast: Learnings from the [24]7 Customer Engagement Index

July 1, 2015
Scott Horn, Chief Marketing Officer

How are businesses losing customers? The ability to capture and share images and reactions from angry customers is now more accessible than ever. Any Entourage fan will tell you that watching Ari Gold regularly lose his mind and publicly fire someone was one of the more enjoyable parts of the TV series. Unfortunately for brands, that type of public shaming is becoming far too commonplace. So, how much (or little) does it take to push a customer over the edge and quit a brand? That was the focus of the second series of conclusions from [24]7.ai’s Customer Engagement Index in which we surveyed 3500 consumers to better understand the frustrations and bottlenecks within the customer journey. With customer expectations continually evolving, this kind of insight is imperative to companies looking to align their resources with customers in order to maintain brand retention and loyalty.

One Bad Experience Will Lose a Customer, Fast!

It does not take much to lose a customer. Our Customer Engagement Index shows that when faced with just one instance of bad customer service, 4 out of every 5 surveyed consumers would take their business to another brand within one week. Even more eye-popping was that 50% of those surveyed would take their business elsewhere the same day they had a bad experience! Businesses need to ensure that every interaction a customer has with the brand is a positive and productive experience. Every interaction counts.

Not All Brand Loyalty is Created Equal

Some industries are in more trouble than others. When we asked consumers to rate a list of industries on their customer service, the cable industry was unsurprisingly the worst offender, with a customer satisfaction score of 2.96 out of 5. Additionally 1 out of 4 consumers noted that they had left a cable company in the past year due to poor customer service.

Alternatively, while the retail industry earned a decent customer satisfaction score of 3.65 out of 5, it also finished poorly in terms of brands that consumers left in the past year due to poor customer service, placing just below cable. The airline industry on the other hand earned the second lowest customer satisfaction score of 3.19 out of 5, but only 1 out of 10 respondents left an airline company in the past year. It’s evident that in industries where there are fewer options to choose from, consumers are more willing to put up with bad customer experiences and aren’t as quick to interchange their business.

Legacy IVR is Killing Your Customer Experience

The biggest culprit that pushes customers over the edge? The legacy IVR phone system. In the Customer Engagement Index 2 out of 5 respondents noted that they ended a relationship with a company due to frustrations around phone self-service systems, especially when it comes to reaching a live agent. Additionally, 1 out of 3 respondents broke ties with a company because they were being forced to wait too long to speak to a live agent on the phone.

In today’s digital world, the chances of a customer losing their cool and exploding in a way that is reminiscent of Ari Gold are high. Customers want to solve their issues on their own, in self-service. By using new self-service technology such as a virtual agent or a smarter IVR, customers might be able to do this. But when they need assisted service from a live agent in chat or over the phone, it’s important to have an omnichannel strategy that maintains the context of the customer’s situation in all channels. Then companies can avoid the expletives and verbal abuse that can come with customer frustrations and ensure that all their customers have an efficient and informative interaction with the brand, every time.

Scott Horn, Chief Marketing Officer
Scott Horn, Chief Marketing Officer

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