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Top 5 Reasons Customers Complain

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Brian Cantor

The following is an excerpt from CCW Digital's Executive Report on Customer Experience.  To download your complimentary copy, click here.

Customers care deeply about the speed of an interaction, and they hate waiting for a live agent.

When made to wait, they opt to complain.

They are evidently made to wait fairly frequently.

“Wait time before reaching a live agent” is the most common cause for customer animosity; 29% of businesses identify it as their top source of complaints.

Other comparatively popular complaint drivers include strict policies (22%), issue recurrence (21%), pricing and billing issues (21%), agents taking too long to solve the problem (16%) and lack of agent expertise (16%).

Four of the top complaint drivers – wait time, issue recurrence, agents taking too long and agents lacking expertise – directly align with customers’ top priorities.  Customers hope to wait minimally before reaching knowledgeable live agents who can solve the problem quickly – and on the first call.

On the one hand, it is therefore fairly intuitive that issues like wait time, issue recurrence, slow service and uninformed agents would prompt frequent complaints.  Since customers care about these factors, they are more likely to be upset – and thus more likely to complain – when they do not receive them.

On the other hand, businesses know these factors are important to customers.  Despite that knowledge, they are failing to deliver them on a fairly frequent basis.

The complaint data further underscores the fine line between knowing what to do and actually doing it.

The other two areas – strict policies and pricing – are also intuitive sources of complaints.  Since strict policies can directly prevent customers from achieving what they want, they inherently cause complaints.  They involve telling a customer “no” at a time when “yes” is the only acceptable answer.

Because pricing issues directly impact customers’ money, they carry clear stakes.  Customers may overlook minor product or experiential issues, but is hard to imagine them ignoring an unexpectedly – or unfairly – high bill.  The heightened stakes breed complaints.