Thursday, January 10, 2008

Customer Research and Insights Analysis

If you’re tired of those endless customer service phone trees, check out this article from the December 3 Brandweek:

People Uproot Customer Service Woes By 'Weeding'

If you've ever tried calling a customer service department to complain about a product or service, you know the drill: Dial the phone number of the customer service department, navigate an endless maze of automated voice prompts, reach a live human and, finally, begin to explain your situation. If you zapped an entire lunch hour doing this, you're far from alone.

But there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and it's not a train steaming in your direction. According to Yankelovich, Chapel Hill, N.C., more consumers are taking control by finding and mastering ways to circumvent such problems as customer service obstacle courses. And, perhaps more important to retailers, more consumers have taken to "weeding," meaning they have a willingness to drop trusted products to go with companies that are substantive, accountable and honest.

According to Yankelovich's Consumer Empowerment Ratchets Up Expectations:
• 82% of consumers think it's important to speak with a live company
representative when seeking customer service.
• 27% are willing to pay extra for this.
• With more people shopping via the Internet, and with so many companies based
overseas, 71% say having customer-service reps in the U.S. is important.
• 25% are willing to pay more for this.

Consumer Empowerment also offers tips for retailers:
• Give customer-facing employees the flexibility to craft customized solutions.
• Give employees the opportunity for more impromptu dialogue and creative
problem solving.
• Provide automatically updated status reports to consumers seeking information
on where their case stands.

Still frustrated? Go to, a list of more than 500 companies, customer service numbers and details on the fastest way to reach live company reps.

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