U.S. Men Are More Willing Than Women to Pay For Good Customer Service

Gender differences come to light in Genesys consumer survey on customer experience

Mars and Venus are still in opposition in the realm of customer experience. A recent survey by Genesys, the global leader in cloud customer experience and contact center solutions, finds that men and women have different expectations when it comes to good customer support and communication methods. For instance, nearly 20% more men than women are open to paying extra to get the type of service they want.

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The Genesys survey revealed different points of view across genders. Within the U.S., the survey pool of 800 adults was split evenly between men and women, with only two people self-identifying as “other.” The pool also covered six age ranges in four geographic regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, West).

Below are some of the more noticeable gender distinctions mined from the U.S. survey data.

  1. Men place more emphasis on good customer service and are willing to pay extra to get it. More men (35%) than women (25%) say they base their decision to buy from a business solely on its reputation for customer service. Significantly, they are also more willing to pay extra for better customer service — 55% versus only 36% of women. Fully twice as many men (18%) as women (9%) are willing to pay a surcharge up to 10% for better support.

  2. Men and women disagree on the most important thing in customer support interactions. There’s no gender difference in what people most value when communicating with customer support centers — timeliness of response and a knowledgeable staff. But the data reveals that men place a nearly equal emphasis on timeliness (50%) and knowledgeable staff (49%) compared to women, who value knowledgeable staff (56%) more than timeliness (43%).

  3. Women have more pet peeves when requesting customer support through contact centers. There are two definite irritations that resonated with more than 40% of the men surveyed: too many automated options (44%), and being put on hold for more than 5 minutes (40%). Women share the same two pet peeves, but have two additional ones: language/accent misunderstandings (43%), too many automated options (42%), having to repeat information to multiple customer service representatives (41%), and being on hold for more than 5 minutes (40%).

  4. Men are more likely to lose their temper and complain to a competitor. While only 11% of women say they “frequently” become so frustrated by customer support that they swear or cry, 20% of men in the survey admit to it. Men are also more likely to complain to a competitor (15%) after experiencing poor customer service, compared to only 5% of women.

  5. Men and women vary in their communication preferences. Connecting with customer support by phone is still considered the most effective method for getting answers by 63% of the overall U.S. survey pool. However, 20% of men find searching the company website offers the most success, versus 13% of women. There are a number of other distinctions described below.
  • Live agent support. When contacting customer support by phone, 62% of women compared to 54% of men say talking to a live agent is the most efficient approach.

  • Social media support. Of the seven communication options for customer support presented in the survey, the most disliked is social media, at 21%. A full 25% of the women who dislike it say it’s because it’s too easy to be misunderstood, compared to 15% of men.

  • Web chat support. Fifteen percent of the people surveyed dislike using web chat to communicate with a business for customer support. What’s interesting is that nearly twice as many men (30%) as women (16%) say the reason is that it’s too easy to be misunderstood. However, the women who dislike web chat are significantly more likely to say that it’s too slow (28%) compared to men (18%).

  • Video chat support. Fourteen percent of the total survey pool dislike using video chat for resolving customer support issues, but the gender distinction is noticeable. A full three-quarters of women (75%) say it makes them uncomfortable, compared to 59% of men.

  • Messaging-based support. Texting and messaging apps are becoming more acceptable as a communication method for customer support, although 13% in the Genesys survey still dislike it. One of the reasons the men dislike it is that they perceive it as too slow (21%), although only 5% of women feel that way.

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“While our survey results shine a light on the differing mindsets men and women have about customer care, they’re also indicative of a larger trend: an expectation for have-it-your-way service,” said Janelle Dieken, senior vice president of product marketing at Genesys. “Fortunately, with sophisticated customer experience technology that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive capabilities, organizations can provide the increasingly personalized experiences today’s discerning consumers expect.”

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