27 Horrifying Customer Service Stats

80% of companies say they deliver superior customer service. Great!
But did you know that only 8% of their customers would agree?

Perhaps these companies use wrong metrics to measure their support. Or they don’t monitor it at all. It doesn’t matter.

What matters though is how devastating this discrepancy can be to business. After all, as much as 70% of sales depend on how customers feel they are being treated.

It’s not hard to imagine what happens if the only feeling they have is frustration.

Let’s see what else customers think of the support they receive. And what influence this has on your business.

Customer Support Affects The Bottom Line

According to ClickSoftware research , companies in the UK are currently losing £15 billion a year due to poor customer service. Their US counterparts lose approximately $41 billion for the same reason. Last year, poor customer service forced 69% of British customers to act on their frustration with a company. 34% of them cancelled a service or stopped using a brand.

In the US, 44% of customers have abandoned a brand due to receiving a poor service. But what’s even more shocking, 89% of them have done so more than twice in a year ( Smart Customer Service ).

Key Takeaway : Poor customer service costs money. Customers want to be treated fairly and are willing to abandon your brand even after a single negative experience.

dreamstime comic picture of manager losing coins while carrying a bag of money

How to overcome this? Become proactive with your support and introduce proper metrics to measure your customer satisfaction .

Poor Customer Support Affects Reputation

Poor customer service doesn't only make your lose money, it makes you lose your reputation as well.

According to the 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer , a research by American Express, customers are 2 times more likely to share their bad customer experience than to talk about a positive one.

And fixing your mistakes isn’t easy. Parature reports that it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for just a single negative one.

Key Takeaway : Customers talk about their negative experiences. Over 1 million people view tweets about customer service every week. And roughly 80% of those messages are negative or critical about a brand.

How to overcome this? Have a documented service strategy . Empower your agents to break the rules to solve a customer’s problem. And, utilise social channels for customer support.

According to J.D Power & Associates , in 2013 67% of customers have used a company’s social media channel for support. And 33% even preferred to contact a brand through social channels rather than phone. And according to Gartner , failing to respond via social channels could lead to a 15% raise in existing customers’ churn rate.

Customer Expectations of Quality

82% of consumers say the number one factor that leads to a great customer service experience is having their issues resolved quickly.
According to Forrester, 45% of US customers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed fast. And two most common customer service frustrations are:

  • Waiting for a sales rep (mentioned by 44% of customers)
  • Being put on hold (voiced by 43% of customers) ( Clicksoftware ).

For 78% of customers a competent agent is a key factor in a happy customer service. This unfortunately is often the problem.

In 2013, 62% consumers switched service providers because of experiencing poor customer service. That’s a 4% rise from the previous year.

26% of consumers have done so because in spite of being transferred from agent to agent, their problem wasn’t solved.

dreamstime comic picture of manager on single path while customers walk other way

According to Parature, 43% of customers name being passed from agent to agent during a SINGLE interaction as the second most frustrating aspect of customer service experience. ( Parature )

And there are good reasons for that. Agents often lack power to make decisions. If a customer’s query falls outside of standard procedures, the agent is helpless. They also often lack access to crucial customer information that would help them process the query. Last year, 42% of service agents were unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems, archaic user interfaces, and multiple applications.

Key Takeaway : Speed is crucial in delivering exceptional customer service. But so is agent competence and access to information.

How to overcome this? Monitor your support resolution times and give your agents full access to customer data.

picture with statistics about which channels customers are using to get customer service

Human Interaction is Crucial for Exceptional Customer Service

According to Gartner , within 5 short years customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a brand without any interaction with a human being.

Yet today's customers are still afraid of dealing with machines.

53% of customers are afraid to call a business for a fear of not being able to speak to a real person ( Smart Customer Service ).

In 2011, 67% of customers have hung up the phone because they could not talk to a person. And according to Harris Interactive, 75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent.

Key Takeaway : Even though an automated phone system might seem helping to speed up your service, your customers might see it as a roadblock and prefer to speak to a live agent straight away.

How to overcome this? Consider introducing alternative channels to reach your brand: self-help options, live chat or return a call.

dreamstime comic picture of manager reading book and having bulb coming out of his head


A typical business hears from only from 4% of its dissatisfied customers . The rest voices their concern through other channels. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience.

Yet with 58% of Americans performing online research about the products and services before they buy, delivering exceptional customer service has never been more crucial.

Pawel Grabowski is a freelance copywriter and content marketer for hire. He helps businesses connect with potential customers online; turn them into buyers and later, brand devotees. For more info, visit smashingcopy.com