Scott Abel, Heretto Content Wrangler
September 1, 2023

In 2023, The Content Wrangler and Heretto commissioned a survey of US consumers to collect data on their preferences and expectations. The survey sought to identify and understand common consumer thoughts about customer service and self-service support.

What we learned backs up previous research by others indicating that most consumers prefer to solve problems themselves before contacting support.  (87%) of consumers attempt to solve issues independently with their top preference consulting the manufacturer’s instructions accompanying the product, followed by searching the web (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), and consulting information on the product maker’s website.

What consumers don’t want from customer support

Customers don’t simply have a slight preference for self-service; in reality, many hold steadfast opinions about it. When questioned about their agreement with the statement, “I’d rather clean a toilet than contact a manufacturer’s customer support center via telephone,” 42.8% either agree or strongly agree.

The time it takes to get answers to technical questions is one of the biggest pain points for consumers who contact customer support by telephone. The average time consumers say they were willing to interact with customer support agents before giving up and searching for answers elsewhere is only 30 minutes.

The primary reason consumers express disapproval of calling customer support centers is extended wait times. Additionally, over 40% say that navigating automated interactive telephone systems, encountering unhelpful representatives, and having to repeat the same information over and over again are their main reasons for avoiding call center interactions. Most customers find helplines to be far from helpful.

The least preferred options for support are using a voice assistant and contacting the customer support center.

What consumers don’t want from self-service support

We also learned that poor self-service help experiences frustrate customers and are reasons for dissatisfaction. 73.8% of consumers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I am unlikely to return to a manufacturer’s customer support website if it’s difficult for me to quickly and easily find the information I need.”

35% of participants said that finding information on a product manufacturer’s customer support website was only somewhat easy.

By providing a centralized location for product information, organizations can reduce the number of inquiries they receive (and the money it costs to staff a call center) while improving customer satisfaction.

When trying to increase traffic to your help site and decrease customer support calls, keep in mind that you might only have one chance to demonstrate its helpfulness.