Aug. 7, 2006

Discover® Card Survey Provides Comprehensive Look At Consumer Opinions Of Customer Service

Riverwoods, IL, August 7, 2006 – Discover® Card today released the results of its Customer Service Survey, which revealed new insights into how consumers use customer service, and how they rate the quality of customer service across industries. The top survey findings revealed that:
  • Consumers want fast and effective response by phone: Reaching knowledgeable customer service representatives is “extremely important” to 65 percent of respondents, followed closely on the heels (64%) of the ease of reaching a “live” person on the phone, and resolving their issues in a single phone call (61%).

  • Don't like being stuck on hold: The longer consumers have to wait on the phone for a customer service representative, the more likely they are to consider it unreasonable. The survey revealed that most consumers, or 65 percent, consider a wait time “reasonable” as long as it is less than two minutes. Nearly half, or 48 percent, find wait times longer than two minutes unreasonable. When wait times are over three minutes, 80 percent find it unreasonable. Only 26 percent of those surveyed recall connecting with a representative in less than 60 seconds.

  • Telephone reigns supreme. Consumers overwhelmingly (73%) prefer to contact customer service using a toll-free number. Only 16 percent prefer to use e-mail, 9 percent prefer using online forms and 2 percent prefer online instant messaging.

  • Age and gender matter. Women are more demanding about the quality of customer service they receive than men, according to a higher percentage of women defining customer service attributes as “extremely important” across all sixteen categories evaluated. Additionally, 18-34 year old respondents were the most demanding age group across half of the categories that were surveyed.

  • Location, location, location. Consumers living in the Southwest and Midwest are more particular about the quality of customer service they receive than those in the Northeast and West, especially when it comes to connecting with a live representative in less than a minute, having their issue resolved promptly and whether the representative seemed to care about them.

  • Consumers split on how they feel. When it comes to their feelings about contacting customer service in general, consumers tend to be polarized. Over half, or 56 percent, said they don't mind contacting customer service at all or very much; however, 44 percent of respondents dislike it -- with a quarter of this group saying they don't like it at all.

"Providing a product consumers want and the quality customer service they expect is our top priority," said Keith Heckel, Senior Vice President of Cardmember Services at Discover Financial Services. "Whether interacting with Discover Card by phone or online, Cardmembers will enjoy a high quality experience that sets the standard for how they interact with other companies. Since becoming the first company to introduce 24/7 live customer service in 1986, we have continued to introduce new technologies and practices to constantly improve the customer experience."

Discover Card's customer service support has been designed to put Cardmembers first, anticipating and caring for their needs by providing top-notch customer service any time, day or night. Discover Card's customer service representatives boast the longest tenure in the industry and are measured on their ability to effectively resolve customer needs. Nearly every inquiry to Discover's cardmember service team, which handles some 80 million calls every year, is resolved in a single phone call.

Discover Card consistently ranks high in third-party assessments of credit-card customer service organizations, having won the Brand Keys Loyalty Award in the credit card category for the past nine consecutive years.

Banks and Financial Services Rank High in Customer Service Quality, While Tech Support Service Lags

A breakdown of customer service quality across different industries revealed that banks and financial services routinely provided the best customer service, while consumers were least satisfied with service they receive from technical support. Some key findings include:
  • Forty percent of consumers were “extremely satisfied” by the overall telephone customer service provided by banks and financial services companies, followed by cell phone companies (29 percent), cable/satellite TV companies (28 percent) and credit card companies (26 percent).

  • By industry, the average waiting time to speak with a customer service representative was shortest for banks and financial services companies, at 1.28 minutes, and longest for tech support, at 2.12 minutes. Credit card companies recorded the second shortest wait time at 1.79 minutes, followed by cell phones companies (1.81), cable/satellite TV providers (1.89) and Internet Service Providers (1.94)

  • Forty-four percent of consumers were “extremely satisfied” with banks and financial services companies when it came to resolving customer inquiries in a single phone call, followed by Internet Service Providers (35 percent), cable/satellite TV companies and credit card companies (both 34 percent) and cell phone companies (33 percent). Tech support ranked lowest at 26 percent.
About the Discover Card Customer Service Survey

For Discover Card's Customer Service Survey, an online survey was conducted with a total of 2,000 nationally-representative adults (947 males and 1053 females). The research was conducted from April 12-19, 2006 by Creative & Response Research Services, Inc.

About Discover Financial Services LLC

Discover Financial Services LLC, a business unit of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), operates the Discover Card with more than 50 million Cardmembers, and the Discover Network with more than 4 million merchant and cash access locations. Discover Financial Services also operates the PULSE ATM/debit network, which serves over 4,200 financial institutions and includes almost 250,000 ATMs and approximately 3.4 million POS terminals. For more information, visit, or

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Media Contact:
Mai Lee Ua
Public Relations
(224) 405-3082

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