The Best (and Worst) of 2015: Customer Service Mishaps and Milestones

Posted by
Rita Romero
LivePerson Contributor
01/06/2016 - 13:41

Customer service stole the show in 2015. Some brands were quick to catch on, coming up with innovative ways to appeal to emotion and individual experience. Others...not so much. And now, the idle are paying for it (literally) with abandoned carts and lost consumer lifetime value.

Not convinced? Check out the following chart from Google Trends showing interest over time in customer service.

Interest Over Time

 

 

 

 

 

Reflecting on another year gone (and one of the most talked-about concepts), our CEO Rob LoCascio examined the best and worst moments of 2015 customer service in his latest column on Inc.

Below is a quick roundup plus our thoughts on his picks.

The best brand moments...

Some brands stepped up and disrupted customer service as we know it. These are a few to remember and to inspire you into the new year.

  • The Four Seasons launched an app. But not just any app: one with a more balanced approach. It’s useful (with local recommendations and directions), and it works “in support of humans.” The hotel found a way to blend tech with consumer-centric, human-to-human service. In 2016, consumers will expect their favorite brands to be in the App Store. What’s more, only those that are connection-based will thrive. Are you ready?
  • Facebook focused on the “M.” There was a massive shift to messaging for both personal and professional communication. In fact, more than seven million consumers messaged brands through the LivePerson platform during Cyber Week. Instinctively, Facebook made mobile messaging simpler for businesses in 2015. Forget that 1-800 number. This year, consumers will defer to messaging for customer support. And we’ll stay on track to #HoldNoMore.
  • And Time Warner also declared “no more hold.” One of my personal favorites, the cable company launched a series of commercials to announce the switch to 24/7 live messaging. But, in case you miss the hold music, Time Warner still offers a taste here.
  • Customer service agents got some love. The faces behind big brands made an impact this year. Rob mentioned “Flo” from Progressive and “Toyota Jan.” Along the same lines, we launched the Association of Customer Care Professionals International (ACCPI) to recognize those on the frontlines of customer care.

 

And the ones we’d rather forget...

With the highs come the lows. Below are a few customer experiences we wish we could erase from our 2015 memories.

  • Most of us were on hold...for the entirety of tax season. You probably aren’t surprised by this one. The IRS became notorious for extra-long hold times during the 2015 tax season. Roughly 60% of callers were put on hold, and many of them took to social media to complain.
  • Man logs activity over eight hours on hold. And then only to be disconnected. BuzzFeed chronicled the disastrous journey of one man as he waited to speak to a customer service representative at Tiger Direct. In Rob’s words, “There's no excuse for putting your customer in 1-800 purgatory.”
  • A customer was given a new nickname. A representative at Comcast changed one customer’s mailing name to “Asshole Brown” after he tried to cancel his service. It just goes to show the impact a single customer care professional can have on brand image.

 

How did your brand do this year?

Regardless of whether you’re on the best or worst list, the key is to learn from these wins and losses and start rethinking the customer experience for 2016. Looking back at the mishaps — and mayhem that ensued — below are our three customer care predictions for the new year.

  1. Brands will double down on culture. The happiest, most-productive customer care professionals (and people in general) are supported by positive, uplifting environments. A healthy corporate culture will be key to bottom-line success in 2016.
  2. The 1-800 number will become extinct. In an age of the smartphone, smartwatch, and other strides in technology, it’s almost comical — not to mention insulting — that brands make consumers wait on hold.
  3. Mobile messaging apps will multiply. Leading brands will create or refine the way they communicate with consumers, engaging them where they already are. Get started now...for free with LivePerson.

Here’s to another year of innovations, and we hope 2016’s blunders are few and far between. From our LivePerson team to yours, best of luck in the new year!

Read Rob’s full article on Inc.

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