Would You Rather Clean a Toilet Than Call Customer Support?  — Photo by Shepard Presentations, LLC.

That’s exactly what we asked more than 1,000 consumers for our 2022 annual customer service research report. The answer: 42% of customers would rather clean a toilet!

Is calling customer support so bad that cleaning a toilet is more desirable? It is if you’ve experienced wasting your time on hold, listening to terrible music, talking to people who don’t seem to care about you, having difficulty hearing or understanding the customer support agent, being transferred again and again, telling the same story over and over … I could keep going, but you get the idea.

It’s important to note that not all customer support calls go this way. As a matter of fact, very few do, but when you experience the dreaded customer support call debacle, it stands out, is remembered, and shakes your confidence for the next time you have to call customer support – so much so that you might rather clean a toilet than make the call.

I recently wrote about this very topic in my weekly Forbes column and included 10 tips on how to make customer support calls better. Here are several of my favorites from the list:

1. Be Friendly and Knowledgeable: As part of our research, we also asked what would get a customer to come back, and the top two answers were dealing with people who are friendly and knowledgeable. How hard is that? Be nice and have the answers – or at least know where to get the answers.

2. Consistency Creates Confidence: You want customers to have the same positive experience every time they call. You want them to use the word always followed by a positive statement when they refer to your customer service. For example, the customer might say, “They are always friendly and knowledgeable.” Again, how hard is that?

3. Shorten the Hold Time: Customers don’t like waiting on hold, no matter how good the “hold music” is. It’s unrealistic to never make a customer hold, so at least invest in the technology that informs the customer about how long the wait will be with the option to have a call-back.

4. Get It Right the First Time: The goal is for the customer to call only once, as in first-call resolution. Customers become frustrated when they have to call back for the same problem. This destroys confidence.

5. Practice Proactive Customer Service: After talking to the customer and looking at their records, is there a question the customer didn’t ask – and doesn’t even know to ask – that you can proactively answer? This is a powerful way to build trust and confidence with your customers.

If this seems like common sense, it is. And if you’ve followed me, then you know one of my favorite sayings is, “Common sense is not always so common.” That said, look at this list and share it with your team. Don’t create an experience that’s so frustrating a customer would say, “I’d rather clean a toilet than call you for customer support!”

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times, bestselling business author. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

Shep Hyken
Shepard Presentations, LLC.

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