Survey finds consumer-retailer trust lacking

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on January 14, 2004

Only 28% of American consumers think that retailers are totally committed to providing high-quality service, according to a nationwide telephone survey of more than 1,000 consumers sponsored by human performance specialists, Novations Group Inc.

The survey also found that 11% of consumers believe the stores they shop in are not very committed to customer service, and 5% say they're "totally indifferent". Brian Metcalf, senior vice president of Novations' retail practice, commented: "The survey confirmed what we suspected - that there is a big gap in trust today between the retailer and the customer. US retailers may talk about delivering great service but often it is more wishful thinking than reality, according to the customers we surveyed."

"Many retailers presume that customers no longer care about service," observed Metcalf. "But Novations' research tells us that bad service upsets customers - even with those who have developed diminished expectations." As Novations points out, past research shows that shoppers are more likely to remember bad service, having a direct negative impact on customer loyalty. Other findings of the survey include:

  • Wealth: More affluent customers are less likely to say that the stores they shop in are totally committed to customer service. Only 19% of those earning more than US$75,000 thought so, compared to 36% of those earning less than US$25,000.
  • Gender: Fewer women (26%) than men (31%) believe that retailers are totally committed to customer service.
  • Age: Those under the age of 44 are less likely to think retailers strive for good customer service (24%), compared to 35% of those over 55.
  • Education: Highly educated consumers are also less likely to think that retailers are totally committed to providing good customer service.

"Our findings echo previous Novations-sponsored surveys on customer service," said Metcalf. "We found customers in general are unlikely to ignore poor service, and many decide to shop elsewhere rather than stay with a retailer who provides less than adequate customer service."

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