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Bad customer service puts brands at risk

Customer service is critical to maintaining loyalty.

Consumers do not give brands a lot of leeway in the level of service they expect.

According to the second annual Coveo Relevance Report: Service, 96% of surveyed consumers believe inadequate customer service experiences affect their loyalty to a brand.

More than one in five (22%) respondents reported they would abandon a brand if they had conflicting information, while 52% of baby boomer respondents will drop a brand if they can’t reach a customer service agent. Yet Coveo data indicates 41% of the information that the average agent receives each day is irrelevant to their job role.

Additional key findings of the survey include:

  • Customers are losing patience faster than ever. Three in four (76%) respondents said they would abandon a brand after three negative service experiences, a 3% increase from the 2021 study.
  • More than one in 10 (12%) respondents would drop a brand after only one negative service experience.
  • Close to half (46%) of respondents said they rarely or never complain about bad experiences, up from 44% a year earlier.
  • Younger generations prefer self-service. Forty percent of Gen Z respondents said they will desert a brand if they can’t resolve an issue on their own.

Meanwhile, a recent consumer survey from customer experience technology provider Emplifi supports Coveo’s findings. According to that survey, 86% of respondents will leave a brand they were once loyal to after only two to three bad customer service experiences. Roughly half (49%) of respondents have left a brand they were previously loyal to in the last 12 months due to poor customer service.

The survey also revealed that slow response time is the leading contributor to a negative customer service experience, followed by a lack of 24/7 customer service support. More than half (52%) of respondents expect brands to respond to customer service inquiries via digital channels within an hour, with 22% expressing a preference for social media, 19% for email, and 16% for website chat. 

Additionally, the Emplifi survey shows that one in six online shoppers will abandon a purchase because of a single bad experience, while 53% of respondents left a brand in the past 12 months after a single bad experience and 49% of respondents rate excellent social media customer service as important when making a purchase.

“Service is a crucial element in keeping customers happy and, ultimately, preserving brand loyalty,” said Sawan Deshpande, VP & GM of service at Coveo. “But every customer journey is unique and no agent can account for the nuance of every single support touchpoint alone. AI can not only offer agents a deeper understanding of a specific customer’s journey, but also arm them with relevant information when they need it most.”

The survey comprised a nationally representative sample of the working population across both the U.S. and U.K., with 4,000 adults aged 18 and older taking part, evenly distributed between each country. All respondents were people who use a computer for work, as a part of companies which contain more than 250 employees.

Download the full report here.

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