Long Wait Times and Dwindling Patience: The Top Customer Service Frustrations in 2022
While consumer expectations for effortless, personal and speedy interactions with customer service agents have been steadily on the rise, these expectations have increased even more since the COVID-19 pandemic, as the shift to digital has accelerated. A company with artificial intelligence (AI)-first customer experience at its core, we at Netomi were keen to dig deeper into consumers’ thoughts on the state of customer service today, so we recently polled more than 1,200 consumers across the United States. How do they really feel about the service they're receiving, and how has this led them to react? These findings are highlighted in the all-new report, The State of Customer Service: The Frustrating Reality of Customer Support in 2022.
One key trend that we discovered is a waning of patience, with 39 percent of consumers having less patience today than they did pre-pandemic, and only 30 percent of consumers willing to wait for a maximum of two minutes to converse with an agent on chat. Similarly, 43 percent of consumers believe that long wait times top the list of the most frustrating parts of customer service.
This accumulation of frustration has led to some not-so-elegant behavior. In fact, one in three customers report having screamed or sworn at a customer service agent, and 61 percent have become so frustrated that they have hung up on agents mid-conversation. Bearing the brunt of the work and dealing with irritated customers, agents themselves are feeling the pressure. We found that nearly three in four (73 percent) customers have had an experience of an agent being rude to them.
Moreover, not all issues are resolved within a single interaction, with 65 percent of consumers reporting having to follow up more than once to get their question resolved, and 25 percent of respondents reporting needing three or more calls to resolve an issue. This lack of resolution simply creates more support tickets, adds more time and effort, and leads to greater frustration on the part of the customers. Thus, the cycle continues.
Fortunately, there are an abundance of tools available to simplify and streamline the jobs of customer service agents, while also impacting the customer experience in a positive way. AI-powered chatbots can automatically resolve repetitive and everyday tickets, triaging them before handing them off to an agent, meaning that the most important or sensitive issues are handled with care. The result? Agents who are able to work more effectively, and customers who are provided with immediate resolutions (no more hour-long hold times).
Findings from The State of Customer Service point to the fact that when it comes to customer service, a shift needs to occur — a rethinking of processes and ways for businesses to enhance the customer experience. Retailers that don't integrate AI-powered solutions into their workforce to meet the needs of the modern consumer run the risk of falling behind in today’s competitive and digital-first world.
Puneet Mehta is the CEO and founder of Netomi, a leader in artificial intelligence for customer service.
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Puneet Mehta is the CEO and founder of Netomi. He spent much of his career as a tech entrepreneur as well as on Wall Street building trading AI. He has been recognized as a member of Advertising Age's Creativity 50 list, and Business Insider's Silicon Alley 100 and 35 Up-And-Coming Entrepreneurs You Need To Meet.