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Voice of the Customer

The walls are closing in on businesses that continue to offer poor levels of customer service. In this age of social media and instant communication, companies that fail to keep their customers happy will quickly earn a potentially damaging reputation.

A new study conducted by virtual assistant specialists ava has highlighted just how much consumers’ expectations have grown.

Firstly, 51% of people in the UK say they would happily pay more for a product or service if it meant that they received a better level of service. There was an interesting gender divide, with 64% of men saying they wouldn’t mind forking out extra, whereas only 36% of women agreed.

Everybody has experienced bad service at some point, and a second survey conducted by ava aimed to find out which specific customer care failings grind our gears the most.

Even in the digital era, it seems that ineffective call centres are still the biggest cause of customer unrest, with one in three of our survey respondents suggesting that being held in a phone queue is the most infuriating customer service failing.

Meanwhile, 29% said that “unhelpful store staff” were their biggest bugbear and 21% indicated that they were most annoyed by poor websites that lack relevant information.

11% suggested that slow email responses were their main gripe and 6% said companies that fail to address their social media queries in timely fashion were their biggest annoyance. On the last point, it is perhaps unsurprising that younger people were the most likely to cite social media interactions (or lack of) as the most frustrating aspect of customer service.

One in five 18 to 34-year-olds chose this as their most prominent pet peeve.

Lucie Greenwood, Sales Manager at ava, said that as many industries become increasingly competitive, businesses that fail to address these issues will inevitably fall behind.

“In 2016 there’s simply no room for bad customer service. With so many comparison websites out there and with people placing a lot of store in review platforms like Trustpilot, businesses will lose trade if their customers have a bad experience. It’s as simple as that. The fact that so many people would actually forego a lower price in order to guarantee a better level of service speaks volumes,” she commented.

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