By Shep Hyken


Here is a stat that’s hard to believe: 

Forty-eight percent of Americans would rather go to the dentist than call customer support.  


OUCH! It seems that going to the dentist to get a filling or a root canal is preferred over having to call customer support. This statistic comes straight from the 2021 Achieving Customer Amazement Study we conducted this year. We surveyed more than 1,000 consumers to find out what they loved and hated about customer service. What would make them come back or terminate their relationship with the brand or company? But let’s get back to this stat for a moment. 

The following horror story has happened to all of us. 

You spend 10 minutes searching a company’s website for a customer support phone number that you eventually find in tiny print on an obscure page. You make the call and you’re put on hold for an unreasonable amount of time. The hold music is terrible, and they don’t tell you how long it’s going to be. You just wait and wonder. Someone finally answers. You have a hard time understanding them. It may not be an accent that’s hard to understand. It may be that you can hear hundreds of other customer service agents in the background, making it hard to hear the agent you’re talking to.  

You take the time to tell the agent your name, address, last four digits of your Social Security number, your mother’s maiden name, and the answer to a security question. Then another five minutes explaining your story. The agent keeps saying, “I’m sorry,” so many times that it loses its impact and seems insincere. You hope this is the person to help you, but your dreams are shattered when the agent says, “I’m sorry, that’s not my department.” From there they transfer you to someone they think is better equipped to help you. 

 And, then it starts over! The next agent and the experience is no better than the last. Finally, you ask to speak to a supervisor. Yes, you’ve done that! Admit it! I can keep going, but you get the idea. 

First, nobody wants to call customer support. They don’t want to have a problem that forces them to do something they hadn’t planned on doing. But it happens, and when it does, you can’t give your customers anything that resembles the experience I just described.  

So, do you want to know what’s important to customers? Here’s a peek at some of the findings from the ACA study. Customers want: 

  • employees who are knowledgeable about the products and services a company sells 
  • employees who are kind and helpful 
  • the ability to reach the right customer support person 
  • convenience – an easy and hassle-free experience 
  • fast responses to their customer support questions from an email, message, or text 


These are some of the basics! And to most of us, these are common sense. Unfortunately, they aren’t always as common as they should be. But the companies that get it right flourish ahead of the customer service laggards. Read more stats and facts in the 2021 ACA study that will help guide your decisions as you improve your customer service. The information the survey revealed is your motivation to deliver an amazing customer experience.