Yext, Inc. (NYSE: YEXT), the AI search company, has today revealed research examining the impact of negative customer support and the methods that customers will go to if their questions cannot be answered easily by a brand’s website. Conducted by Innofact* on behalf of Yext, the research found that despite 97% of respondents using a company’s customer support page to search for information in the past 12 months, 35% reported problems using help pages and 23% were dissatisfied by the results.
The research demonstrates a clear gap between customers actively trying to seek out answers themselves and those that can find the information they need, with 19% stating that this is their most common complaint. This was on top of issues such as questions not being listed in the FAQ (19%), and that the search functionality did not understand their query (15%).
While this level of poor customer service is understandably frustrating all year round, the holiday season in particular is set to peak customer grievances with consumers more likely to contact customer support than any other time of the year. For brands, getting support right during the holiday season is a priority, with additional research by Yext** finding that 48% of UK shoppers contacted customer support during the holiday season last year and 91% believe customer service during the holiday season is important.
But getting support wrong for brands can have big consequences, with 80% of consumers stating that they are likely to switch to another company if the customer service is poor.
When customers cannot find the answers that they are looking for on a brand’s website they turn to a variety of different options. The majority (60%) call customer service, 50% send an email to the company and 34% search for the answer on Google. These options are time consuming for both parties, resulting in a frustrated customer and overloaded customer support centres.
During busy periods such as the holiday season, customer support teams need to ensure that they are pre-empting common customer questions. According to Yext Research**, most UK customers contacted support last holiday season to get a refund (53%), or to get a shipping estimate (17%). With similar questions likely to be asked again this holiday season, it is important for support teams to have easy-to-find, up-to-date information available on their website. 77% also claim that they are more likely to buy a product if their questions are answered directly on the help page without the need to contact customer support.
“This research once again shows how brands are failing their customers when it comes to support. When customers cannot get the answers that they need easily online and have to turn to different methods, their trust in the company diminishes and so does their loyalty,” said Jon Buss, Managing Director of Yext EMEA. “As we enter one of the busiest periods of the year and with supply chain disruption still an issue for many, it is imperative that businesses are putting customer support first with direct answers that aren’t a drain on employee resources.” Jon continues.
*Data for this report was collected by Innofact, an independent market research firm, on behalf of Yext. A total of 3,009 people between the ages of 18 and 69 from Germany, France, and the United Kingdom (including 1,007 in the UK), who had contact with a customer service department and/or used a company’s help page in the past 12 months, responded to an online questionnaire in October 2021. The survey quota is population-representative by gender, age and region in each country. Individual percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole percent.
**This survey was conducted by Yext. A total of 1300 people aged 18+ from the US and UK (including 300 in the UK), responded to an online survey in November 2021.