New research from NewVoiceMedia has revealed that UK companies are potentially losing £11 billion per year due to poor customer service.
Since the company’s initial 2013 survey, the number of UK consumers who report leaving a business due to inadequate customer experiences has actually decreased, from 50% to 42%. However, the top reasons given for leaving were consistent with the previous study and included: feeling unappreciated (44%), unhelpful/rude staff (35%), being passed around to multiple people (33%), not being able to get answers (27%), being fed up of queuing (27%) and not being able to speak to a person (25%).
“With revenue being transferred between companies at an alarming rate, this research highlights the considerable impact that customers have on a business’s success”, said Jonathan Gale, CEO of NewVoiceMedia. “Customer experience is the key differentiator, and by doing it well, organisations can drive the customer acquisition, retention and efficiency that make leading companies successful”.
Calling out the contact centres
A majority of respondents (49%) indicated emailing as their preferred method of communication with a business, yet 61% considered calls to be the quickest way of resolving an issue.
However, consumers flagged being kept on hold as the top reason (48%) they dislike calling companies. Respondents also noted not being able to speak to a “real person” straight away (42%), having to repeat info to multiple agents (39%), the cost of calling (38%) and needing to navigate multiple menus (36%) as off-putting. On average, respondents indicated they would only hold for up to 11 minutes before hanging up.
Consequently, only 27% suggested calls were the most effective way to resolve an issue. Email (27%) and social media (18%) were other channels respondents touted as “effective” in settling customer service issues.
According to one respondent, a preference for non-telephone communications stems from email’s “ability to thoroughly document the problem and [lessen the] chance of a misunderstanding”. Others explained that social media often spurs response because the channel is public facing.
Commenting on the news, Shep Hyken, customer service and experience expert, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, said, “There is a disconnect between how companies think they are doing and what customers are reporting. Customers are more service savvy than ever before, and companies are training customers to expect more tailored experiences. The companies that deliver great customer service have set the benchmark and with each improvement push the baseline bar higher”.
How customers respond
Faced with poor customer service, more than half (52%) of respondents would write to complain, 47% would never use the offending company again, 40% indicated they’d change suppliers, 20% would post an online review, 16% would tell friends or colleagues not to use the company and 16% would complain publicly via social media.
On the contrary, if provided with good service, customers would be more loyal (68%), recommend the company to others (59%), use the company more frequently (34%) and spend more money (30%). Only 10% claimed good service would not affect their relationship with the business.