Bad service loses 80% of UK customers
Customer service in the UK continues to be well below expected standards in the telecommunications, banking and retail sectors, as 80% of the country's consumers say they will only withstand one negative experience before taking their business elsewhere, according to customer service survey commissioned by Amdocs.
According to Amdocs, the survey shows that the customer still needs to be "placed at the centre of the business", and that UK consumers are no longer the patient type, with 75% of the 1,001 people surveyed insisting that they would argue their case and get increasingly angry in the face of bad customer service.
In fact, more than 80% said they have had to endure a bad customer service experience recently and more than half would rather visit their in-laws or drive round the congested M25 motorway than deal with current levels of customer service.
Make or break This is not the first time that research has highlighted consumer frustration at - and unwillingness to put up with - poor customer service options. Today's consumer expects nothing less than superior service from their communications, financial, and retail service providers. With intense competition for their business, a service organisation's profitability hinges on its ability to deliver higher quality service as well as to know, and even predict, its customers' preferences.
Key findings Other key findings of the survey included:
- Myth: The British love to queue: Despite the common perception that the British love to queue, 90% of consumers cited long waiting times as their greatest customer service annoyance.
- Myth: If it's free they'll take it: The offer of free goods and services following a poor service experience was deemed important by less than 5% of those questioned.
- Hearsay is dynamite: Over 80% insisted that they would spread the word to friends and family following a poor customer service experience.
- The grass is greener on the other side: Fully 85% of those surveyed felt that customer service is far superior abroad.
- Granny knows best! Over three-quarters said they prefer their query to be handled by a mature woman.
"There is no denying that customer is king. The results of the survey, although hard hitting, are not unexpected. The onus is on the company, whether that be in the telecommunications, banking or retail sector, to provide the best possible service," said Amdocs UK director Neil Philpott.
Time to integrate According to Philpott, UK companies must urgently integrate their business processes, moving beyond disparate billing and CRM solutions to a customer-centric operation. With a comprehensive view of the customer, any company should be able to provide a seamless and tailored service which, if used efficiently, could be invaluable. But if the data is not used correctly, Philpott warns, the result can be further frustration for the customer.
"We now have a de facto list of the grievances of the UK population which can be used to raise standards across the board," said Philpott. "We should remember that some companies are fantastic when it comes to customer service, but we need to ensure that these are not the exceptions. A high level of service should be the norm."