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Voice of the Customer

One in six UK consumers experienced poor customer service at least once in the last week, according to a study. Those who have experienced this poor service claim it is due to poor attitudes and incompetent staff, according to the Institute of Customer Service’s report.

43 per cent said they would not buy again from an organisation with which they had a less than satisfactory experience.

56 per cent of 2000 respondents said their biggest issue was that staff were often unable to help them immediately, and 51 per cent said that they found staff disinterested.

Unhelpful attitudes were the third largest issue for consumers, with 36 per cent saying this was a reason for poor customer experience.

35 per cent said poor complaint handling was another reason for their negative customer experience.

Due to these issues, 84 per cent said they felt staff needed more training if they were to be resolved.

To secure brand loyalty, the survey found that 18 per cent of Brits were looking for a courteous and helpful attitude. 17 per cent said they would be loyal if staff could give them the correct information they were looking for first time, and 16 per cent said they would be loyal in response to professionalism.

A reason why UK consumers are likely to become annoyed with a brand is if their response time is slow. 46 per cent of those surveyed expected a response within 24 hours of making contact with an organisation via email and 42 per cent via a brand’s website.

33 per cent also expected a reply within 24 hours after making contact through social media channels.

Jo Causon, chief executive of The Institute of Customer Service, said: “Excellent customer service is something we all demand and something we all expect, yet it is clearly not something we all see. Anything less than the best service risks customers taking their business elsewhere and, in today’s uncertain economy, there are no organisations that can afford to take long-term customer relationships for granted.

“With 70 percent of the UK’s working population in a customer-facing role, the impact that good service can have on customer retention and repeat purchase should be the number one concern of any boardroom.

“Service skills may come naturally for some, but where they are absent, they can be still be learned. Successful executive teams realise that by focusing on service skills development they are investing in the long-term stability and future of their organisation.”

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