Study: 55% of Consumers Need to Use Two or More Channels to Resolve Their Issue

Rosemont, IL- August 11, 2016 —Most businesses have long adhered to the mantra, “The customer is king.” But based on the results of a recent study about customer service conducted by management consulting firm, The Northridge Group, it looks like many customers feel as if they’ve received a demotion.

The Northridge Group’s State of Customer Service Experience 2016 report, its second annual survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents, reveals consumers are worn down and frustrated by how much effort is required to contact companies for help:

  • 44% of consumers say they do not feel companies make it easy to contact them.
  • 55% report using two or more communication channels to contact a company or brand before an issue is resolved.
  • Consumers still value first contact resolution, but 40% say they must contact a brand two or more times before a customer service issue is resolved.
  • Social media continues to grow as a customer service channel with 77% of consumers saying they use social channels to contact companies as much or more than a year ago.
  • Yet for those consumers that contact brands on social media, 21% say they never even get a response.

Customer Effort Equates with Brand Loyalty
“When it comes to interacting with customer service departments, today’s time-starved consumers want easy,” says Pam Plyler, Executive Practice Lead for Customer Experience at The Northridge Group. “The unfortunate reality is that as consumers attempt to make contact with brands, it is anything but easy. Their experiences are often highly fragmented, inconsistent, labor intensive and lacking personalization. Putting an effective omni-channel strategy in place with an emphasis on the digital experience allows companies to respond seamlessly to customers—building service, sales, reputation and brand loyalty while also reducing costs.”

Patience is a Thing of the Past—Especially Among Millennials
Consumer tolerance for multiple contacts, transfers, long hold times, slow responses and ineffective issue resolution is waning. With the accelerated growth of mobile and digital technologies, the more customer communication channels available, the less inclined consumers are to wait as long as they have in the past for response and resolution. It appears that tolerance for delays is diminishing among younger consumers:

  • 19% of Baby Boomers will try another communications channel within 60 minutes if their issue is not adequately addressed.
  • Millennials are even less likely to wait with 40% reporting they will migrate to another channel within 60 minutes if their issue is not adequately addressed.

The Companies That Get Digital Right Will Win
The Northridge Group’s State of Customer Service Experience 2016 report says that over 80% of consumers contact customer service every year. With consumers toggling between channels—especially digital—the brand experience becomes disjointed and inconsistent. “The companies that get digital right will win,” says Therese Fauerbach, Co-founder and CEO of The Northridge Group. “Digital is growing exponentially as customers continue to move online. Companies that focus on usability and ease of resolution within and across their digital channels will have a real competitive advantage.”

To download the full 2016 report, please visit this page.

About The Northridge Group
The Northridge Group is a leading management consulting firm specializing in customer experience solutions, quality monitoring services and business transformation initiatives, utilizing data analytics and business process redesign to deliver results. Founded in 1999, the firm serves clients in the healthcare, telecom, financial services, travel and transportation industries. Using a holistic approach to problem-solving, Northridge provides services for the Fortune 200 and key government agencies at the federal, state and local level. For more information on The Northridge Group's services, visit www.northridgegroup.com.