Omni-Channel Wake-Up Call in New Study: Fragmented Customer Experience Makes Consumers Work Harder Than Ever to Reach Companies for Help

55% of Consumers Need to Use Two or More Channels to Resolve Their

21% of Consumers Who Contact Brands via Social Media
Never Even Get a Response

ROSEMONT, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Most businesses have long adhered to the mantra, “The customer is king.”
But based on the results of a recent study about customer service
conducted by management consulting firm, The Northridge Group, it looks
like many customers feel as if they’ve received a demotion.

The Northridge Group’s State of Customer Service Experience 2016
report, its second annual survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents,
reveals consumers are worn down and frustrated by how much effort is
required to contact companies for help:

  • 44% of consumers say they do not feel companies make it easy to
    contact them.
  • 55% report using two or more communication channels to contact a
    company or brand before an issue is resolved.
  • Consumers still value first contact resolution, but 40% say they must
    contact a brand two or more times before a customer service issue is
  • Social media continues to grow as a customer service channel with 77%
    of consumers saying they use social channels to contact companies as
    much or more than a year ago.
  • Yet for those consumers that contact brands on social media, 21% say
    they never even get a response.

Customer Effort Equates with Brand Loyalty

“When it comes to interacting with customer service departments, today’s
time-starved consumers want easy,” says Pam Plyler, Executive
Practice Lead for Customer Experience at The Northridge Group. “The
unfortunate reality is that as consumers attempt to make contact with
brands, it is anything but easy. Their experiences are often
highly fragmented, inconsistent, labor intensive and lacking
personalization. Putting an effective omni-channel strategy in place
with an emphasis on the digital experience allows companies to respond
seamlessly to customers—building service, sales, reputation and brand
loyalty while also reducing costs.”

Patience is a Thing of the Past—Especially Among Millennials

Consumer tolerance for multiple contacts, transfers, long hold times,
slow responses and ineffective issue resolution is waning. With the
accelerated growth of mobile and digital technologies, the more customer
communication channels available, the less inclined consumers are to
wait as long as they have in the past for response and resolution. It
appears that tolerance for delays is diminishing among younger consumers:

  • 19% of Baby Boomers will try another communications channel within 60
    minutes if their issue is not adequately addressed.
  • Millennials are even less likely to wait, with 40% reporting they will
    migrate to another channel within 60 minutes if their issue is not
    adequately addressed.

The Companies That Get Digital Right Will Win

The Northridge Group’s State of Customer Service Experience 2016
report says that over 80% of consumers contact customer service every
year. With consumers toggling between channels—especially digital—the
brand experience becomes disjointed and inconsistent. “The companies
that get digital right will win,” says Therese Fauerbach, Co-founder and
CEO of The Northridge Group. “Digital is growing exponentially as
customers continue to move online. Companies that focus on usability and
ease of resolution within and across their digital channels will have a
real competitive advantage.”

To download the full report, please visit this page.

About The Northridge Group

The Northridge Group is a leading management consulting firm
specializing in customer experience solutions, quality monitoring
services and business transformation initiatives, utilizing data
analytics and business process redesign to deliver results. Founded in
1999, the firm serves clients in the healthcare, telecom, financial
services, travel and transportation industries. Using a holistic
approach to problem-solving, Northridge provides services for the
Fortune 200 and key government agencies at the federal, state and local
level. For more information on The Northridge Group’s services, visit


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Melissa Oakley
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