Bah humbug! Shoppers outraged by Grinch-like customer service - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Bah humbug! Shoppers outraged by Grinch-like customer service

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TEMPE, AZ (CBS5) -

A new customer-rage study shows more American consumers than ever are dissatisfied with the products and services they buy.

The study shows 56 million American households experienced at least one problem during the past 12 months, and about $76 billion in revenue was at stake for the businesses involved.

The Center for Services Leadership at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University helped design the survey.

"We found satisfaction is no higher than reported in 1976," says Scott Broetzmann of Customer Care Measurement and Consulting.

"People are frustrated that there are too many automated response menus, there aren't enough customer-care agents, they waste a lot of time dealing with the problem, and they have to contact the company an average of four times to get resolution," Broetzmann said.

Some of the findings of the survey include:

  • The amount of people reporting customer problems went up from 32 percent in the 1976 study, to 45 percent in 2011, and then 50 percent in 2013.
  • The number of households experiencing customer rage went up from 60 percent just two years ago to 68 percent this year.
  • We're yelling and cursing at customer-service representatives more when dealing with the worst problems, with yelling up from 25 percent in previous rage studies to 36 percent now, and cursing up from 7 to 13 percent.
  • The type of product most often responsible for enraging us is cable/satellite TV.
  • Though many people associate the government with customer-service issues, 98 percent of the most serious problems stemmed from private companies.
  • Despite the rise of the internet, people are still 11 times more likely to complain via phone than web.
  • Customer-complaint posting on social-networking sites, such as Facebook, has nearly doubled from 19 to 35 percent since 2011.
  • Most of those who reported a complaint - 56 percent - say they got absolutely nothing as a result, up 9 percentage points since 2011.
  • When companies added free remedies, such as an apology, to any other monetary relief they gave customers, satisfaction doubled from 37 to 74 percent.
  • If the customer was satisfied or at least pacified, he or she only told an average of 10 to 16 people about the problem, but if customers were left dissatisfied, they told an average of about 28 people.

Survey results are based on phone interviews of about 1,000 households.

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