Study: Consumers Waste On Average 6 1/2 Hours When Lodging Complaints Through the Contact Center

Consumers spend 384 minutes lodging official complaints each year according to new customer experience research conducted by Populus Research and commissioned by KANA Software.  

The August 2013 study surveyed 2,000 US consumers aged 18 and over. Key findings stemming from the research include:

  • Seventy-one percent of consumers surveyed have made a complaint in the past three years to an organization about their products or services, and on average, Americans make official complaints six times each year or once every 60 days. The amount of time wasted on each complaint is one hour and four minutes, equating to a waste of nearly 6 1/2 hours each year, the equivalent of nearly one whole working day for each person questioned.
  • When asked about consumers’ experiences during their most recent complaint, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of those polled said they had to repeat themselves to different members of staff to pursue resolution. In fact, getting full resolution took an average of three attempts, according to those surveyed, with more than one-quarter (27 percent) of consumers using multiple contact channels to do so. Seventeen percent of those surveyed indicated they had fallen into the customer service “death spiral” where they had to expend more than one full hour repeating themselves.
  • The survey findings indicate that the most common method people interact with an organization to lodge a complaint is via phone (39 percent), which is followed closely by email (33 percent). The use of social media is still in its infancy as an issue resolution channel (only 7 percent of those questioned saying they complain via social media) – but women are more apt to use it than men.
  • Those in the 25-34 Millennial age group topped all other age groups in complaint activity and proclivity, with nearly 80 percent of those polled lodging a complaint within the past three years. This age group was also found to be the most relentless and driven among all age groups surveyed in complaint resolution. Survey findings revealed they use a wider method of communication channels, and a full 39 percent leveraged multiple channels to seek solutions to their issues. Also, women edged out men in being the most active complainers in all age groups.

While the survey didn’t quantify the impact on consumers’ satisfaction with these organizations as a result of their customer service experiences, another recent survey from an independent industry analyst firm revealed that the majority of customers (71 percent) say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service.

“A customer complaint presents an opportunity to provide excellent customer service and win that customer over by resolving their issue quickly and to their satisfaction,” said James Norwood, chief marketing officer for KANA, in a statement. “But all too often, customer service suffers from a lack of integration and misunderstanding across service channels. This leads to overwhelmed agents, lost productivity, and frustrating and laborious experiences for customers, adding perceived insult to injury.”