How Much Has the Customer Services Industry Changed Since the 1970s?

It’s clear that customer service standards and expectations have risen since the 1970s, but how far have things actually changed?

There is no doubt that customer service standards and expectations have changed drastically in the past 40 years or so.

As you can see from alldayPA’s latest infographic, companies are under increasing pressure to communicate with their customers in a prompt manner. The iconic sitcom ‘Are You Being Served?’ – which aired in the 1970s and 80s – is not only a British institution, the show also gave us a unique insight into how not to run a retail business.

The old fashioned owners are set in their ways and are not willing to adapt. Unfortunately, many firms in the real world are also failing to move with the times, and there is only so long they can get away with this.

What are the main differences between the 1970s and 2014?

As the infographic shows, there are two main reasons why customer service expectations have changed so much since the 1970s.

Firstly, the breakdown of the 9-5 working day has resulted in many consumers making complaints to businesses 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to our own data, there has been a 41% increase in the number of calls being handled by firms between 8am and 9am and between 6pm and 8pm in the past two years.

What we have found is that most people now see 8am as the official start of the working day, although there are lots of companies that receive calls right through the night. Not so long ago, we used to see call volumes taper off at around 5.30pm each day, but this doesn’t happen until at least 8pm these days.

Technology has also made a notable difference to customer service, though this is sometimes overplayed. Clearly, the emergence of social media has given people another option when contacting businesses, but this form of customer service is still very much in its infancy.

The telephone is NOT dying out!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the telephone is still hugely important for customer service purposes.

In our new infographic, we referenced a study commissioned by Amdocs, which showed 80% of people who did not receive a response from a company via social media had no option but to make a phone call. This followed on from a separate study by NICE Systems that confirmed as many as 88% of consumers still prefer to reach a company via phone.

This certainly doesn’t surprise me. While sending a tweet or Facebook message is easy and convenient, the success rate of this type of customer enquiry is very low when compared with phone contact. Customers still like the human touch of actually speaking to people, as you never know who you are communicating with on social networking platforms.

So all in all, it seems that customer service standards have altered dramatically since the 1970s, but despite the raft of new technology that is available to us, we’re still very much reliant on the trusty old telephone.

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