Ahead of the Holidays, New Study from Helpshift Reveals Consumer Attitudes About Customer Support During Busy Shopping Season

Preliminary results reveal consumers feel customer support is improving overall, and support actually improves during busy holiday period thanks to modern technology like messaging

August 21, 2019 – SAN FRANCISCO – Helpshift, the company revolutionizing customer service through its intelligent digital-first platform, has released new data revealing consumers’ opinions about the state of customer service ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. Key findings include:

  • Customer support queries increase significantly during the holidays: New proprietary data from Helpshift’s retail customers showed that customer support tickets increased 47% during the 2018 holiday season. Cyber Monday saw an even higher 167% increase in ticket volume compared to non-holiday periods.
  • Customer satisfaction is unaffected by the higher volume of queries during this period: Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores during the holidays generally increased by 0.43%. During Cyber Monday, CSAT actually increased even more, by 6%. New Helpshift data from a survey of over 2,300 consumers also found 30% of consumers believe customer service actually improves during the holidays, while 29% believe it declines.
  • New tools are helping retailers scale during busy periods: Helpshift retail customers saw the average time to first response to a customer support query improved by 13% during the 2018 holiday period compared to the rest of the year, while time to resolve a query improved by 9%. Time to first response improved by an additional 10% during Cyber Monday.
  • Opinions on customer support are generally positive year-round: A solid majority (55%) of Americans surveyed report that they feel customer service has generally improved in the last two years, similar to the 54% of consumers surveyed across all countries.

“It may seem counterintuitive, but despite customer support teams being much busier than usual during the holidays, customers themselves are not seeing negative effects,” said Helpshift CEO Linda Crawford. “This is because retailers are learning how to scale their support operations during the busy holiday shopping season. Offering more robust self-service options, in addition to using automated technologies and modern channels like messaging, enables them to scale and maintain steady customer satisfaction scores without increasing costs.”

Other key findings include:

  • Telecoms and airlines are viewed as providing poor support: 39% of survey respondents report that the telecommunications industry is the worst for customer service, followed by airlines at 20%. In Helpshift’s 2018 survey, 51% of respondents stated telecommunications was the worst industry for customer service, implying some improvement despite the industry retaining its reputation for the worst service.
  • Baby Boomers appear more willing to give customer support some slack, with 20% reporting they do not feel any industry has terrible service, compared to only 16% of Gen X, 10% of Millenials, and 8% of Gen Z. While being the generation most likely to believe no industry offers terrible service, Boomers are also the generation least likely to report service is improving, with only 28% believing this to be the case. 
  • UK consumers are the most pessimistic about customer service improvements: Looking geographically, the 55% of Americans reporting improved customer service generally is in line with the 54% average of those surveyed across both the US and Europe. The United Kingdom was the only nation surveyed to not report service improvements, with only 41% saying service has improved since 2017. 

“While it’s encouraging to see that most consumers surveyed feel that service and support operations are improving, there’s still a long way to go,” continued Crawford. “As this data reflects, digital customer service is moving the needle and helping brands scale, especially during busy times like the holidays. Yet brands need to make the move to digital-first and start automating in order to deliver on consumers’ expectations of on-demand support.”

About Helpshift

Helpshift’s next-generation digital customer service software enables B2C brands to scale their support while offering differentiated experiences through phone, web, in-app, email and messenger app channels. Helpshift’s innovative asynchronous messaging model across these channels gives people back their time, keeps conversations in context and allows humans and automations to work together to solve problems faster. The Helpshift platform embeds knowledge and AI to let customer service organizations best utilize a mix of automated service, self-service and human-assisted service. Serving over 450 businesses worldwide, including Xfinity Home, Tencent and Supercell, Helpshift is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices around the globe. To learn more about Helpshift, visit helpshift.com and follow @helpshift on Twitter.


Helpshift performed a survey between July 21-August 13, 2019 of 2,353 consumers across the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany and France. Additionally, Helpshift aggregated and anonymized data from more than 75 million customer service tickets since November 2018 to contribute to these findings.

Dan Brown
(312) 235-4316