The Customer Service Survey

Consumerist on Good and Bad Service Factors

by Peter Leppik on Fri, 2008-03-14 01:00
A few weeks ago, I wrote about our survey of good and bad customer service factors, the things which customers feel are important in the quality of their customer service experience.

Ben Popken, the excellent editor of The Consumerist, thought it would be interesting to offer the same survey to his readers. So he did (with my blessing).

After running for several days, he got around 5,000 responses from Consumerist readers (as compared to the 400 we collected from VocaLabs' consumer panelists). The average participant on the Consumerist survey chose only one option on each survey question, in sharp contrast to the VocaLabs panel where the average participant selected about half the options on each question. This suggests that the VocaLabs panelists took more time to answer the question carefully, whereas the Consumerist readers mostly just chose their top answer and stopped there.

But after normalizing the results to adjust for the different number of responses per participant, I found that the survey results were quite similar. On the list of "Good" customer service factors, the differences between the VocaLabs survey results and the Consumerist poll were generally within the margin of error, except that many fewer Consumerist readers chose the "Keep the total call as short as possible" option. My best explanation is that the "short call" factor was rarely people's most important consideration, but often a second- or third-choice option.

There were more differences in the list of "Bad" customer service factors, though most of the differences between our survey and Consumerist readers were still within the margin of error (again, after normalizing the Consumerist results to adjust for the different number of responses per participant). Consumerist readers chose the "The company doesn't do things it promised to do" option relatively more often than VocaLabs panelists, and were less likely to choose long hold times, rude agents, or hard-to-use IVR as important considerations.

Given the differences between the way these two surveys were run, and the fact that the Consumerist ran a wide-open online poll, it's perhaps surprising that the results are as similar as they are. That suggests that consumers are fairly consistent about which customer service issues they care about today.

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