New service study: The Customer Service Barometer 2022 is here!

Published on 2022-10-13


  • The image of companies depends to a large extent on customer service quality.
  • Consumer expectations remain very high across all channels.
  • Chatbots: use on the rise - trust on the decline.
  • In contrast to 2021, telephone is once again the most-used contact channel.

DOWNLOAD FOR FREEDer Kundenservice Barometer (kundenservicedesjahres.de)

Due to inflation and the general crisis, the question of the relevance of customer service quality compared to low prices is particularly interesting this year. Whereas in the last two years well over half of all respondents confirmed that good service was more important than low prices, this year the figure is just under 50%. Here it is apparent that more favorable prices have become more relevant, presumably due to last year's world events. For 88% of consumers, the quality of customer service is still a decisive factor in their purchasing decision. Money still does not play the main role: 48% say that good service is more important to them than low prices. 46% say they would rather go after low prices. These values converged for the first time in 2022. Although low prices are still not the most important influencing factor in the purchase decision, a minimal shift toward "lower price" is discernible, probably due to the crisis.

Use of contact channels - telephone again strongest channel in contrast to 2021

The use of customer services in general has declined slightly from 73% in 2021 to 71% in 2022. Since the study was first published in 2019, the email channel overtook the telephone as the most used contact medium for the first time last year. This year, there was a decline in the email channel (from 51% to 48%), putting the phone back in first place with an unchanged 50%. The chatbot is becoming more widely used, increasing from 12% to 26% from 2019 to 2022 - at the same time, trust and satisfaction is lowest on this channel. For the channels social media or the website, hardly any changes are visible compared to the previous year. In 6% of cases, consumers contact the company via Facebook (previous year: 7%) and in 31% an answer is first sought on the website (previous year: 34%). The use of the channels is also reflected in the trust in the respective channel: 87% of respondents state that they have great to very great trust in the telephone channel. Trust is even greater for the e-mail channel, at 89%. Direct chat via the company website is trusted by 75%, while the chatbot is trusted by only 47%. Trust in the Facebook channel is 64%.

While telecommunication companies and insurance companies were among the most contacted companies since 2019, this year the e-commerce / online retail industry is in first place with 45%, followed by telecommunication (37%) and insurance (35%).

Chatbot: accessibility vs. satisfaction

New digital contact options become important above all when a request needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible. Chatbot use is therefore unsurprisingly rising from 12% in 2019 to 26% in 2022. The reason for use is still clearly the fact of being able to make contact around the clock, according to the study. However, in the ranking around trust and satisfaction, the bot does not do well: only 47% say they trust the channel (compared to 74% for live chat, for example) . The picture is similar for satisfaction: 58% are very satisfied to satisfied with the bot's performance, while 76% leave satisfied to very satisfied after a live chat. The rising use of chatbots could also be directly related to the increasing number of them: more and more companies are opting to introduce a bot or assistant to free up capacity and resolve simple concerns without the direct use of "manpower".

Expectations and annoyances

In the ranking of the biggest "annoyances" in contact with a customer service provider, 65% of consumers in the study said that long waiting times until the first contact with the customer service representative annoyed them the most. This means that waiting time remains unchanged in first place. Just under half accept a waiting time of no more than 4 minutes on the phone. Just under 40% expect to speak to a contact person after no more than one minute. When inquiring via e-mail, 34% of Germans expect a response within 8 hours - 36% still find a response time within 24 hours acceptable. Expectations are also high in chat: 17% expect an answer immediately (right away), while 35% find a waiting time of 2-4 minutes acceptable (waiting time for an employee to respond).
With 46%, repeating the request is in second place among the "inconveniences". Unchanged from last year, 32% say they are annoyed when expertise on products or certain services is poor and cannot be answered.

DOWNLOAD FOR FREEDer Kundenservice Barometer (kundenservicedesjahres.de)

The study was commissioned by Armonia Deutschland GmbH, organizer of the customer service audit "Voted Customer Service of the Year" and conducted by AC Süppmayer GmbH.