The holiday season has arrived and consumers are ready to shop, decorate and maybe eat last year’s fruitcake?! Sounds crazy but according to a new survey from Aspect, more than a third of Americans (37 percent) say they would rather eat year-old fruit cake than contact customer service during the holidays. These somewhat extreme feelings might be coming from the fact that 74 percent agree that it’s more of a hassle to deal with customer service during the holidays than any other time of the year. Some (38 percent) will go as far as giving money as a gift to avoid the notorious interactions.
Despite these negative sentiments, sometimes consumers can’t avoid customer service around the holidays. For those who do go out of their way to deal with customer service, 33 percent say that picking up the phone is the best way to do so during the holidays, while 48 percent feel this way throughout the year. What does this mean? Maybe consumers are controlling the fate of their experience by trying other channels.
- 25 percent say in-person and email are the best ways to interact with customer service during the holidays while 21 percent say these channels are best at other times of the year.
- Online chats may rise with 15 percent stating it is the best channel during the holidays versus a mere 9 percent that think this throughout the year.
Having the right channels and systems in place is crucial this time of year as an overwhelming 91 percent expect customer service to be better prepared for the holidays. That being said, the holiday season poses both a challenge and opportunity, depending how retailers prepare and execute their customer service operations. They should be warned though, customers will not hold back if they’re not satisfied. Only 20 percent of Americans feel guilty about being rude to a customer service agent.
Consumers across the board have become more empowered and expect to receive certain levels of service, especially during the holidays. As a result, companies are under increased pressure to deliver a consistent, exceptional customer experience if they want to capitalize on business this time of year. Today’s consumers have multiple touch points to interact with brands and if they come out with a positive experience, they are more likely to reciprocate with brand loyalty and advocacy.