US consumers tolerate two mistakes before leaving, study finds

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on June 22, 2004

Consumers say they will now tolerate a maximum of two negative customer service experiences before taking their business elsewhere, according to a US customer service survey commissioned by billing and CRM products and services provider, Amdocs.

The survey, which examined the opinions of 1,000 consumers about recent experiences in the banking, cable, retail, and telecommunications industries, showed that consumers are increasingly holding companies accountable for poor customer service, telling their service providers that they "will not take it any more" and that they will change providers if they are given anything but good service.

Rather be in a jam
According to the survey, the majority of consumers (over 75%) would hang up on a call placed to customer service after waiting on hold for longer than five minutes, and 80% of consumers polled would rather visit the dentist, pay their tax bill, or sit in a traffic jam than deal with an unhelpful customer service representative!

But the real worry for businesses providing less-than-satisfactory customer service is that fully 75% of respondents said that they tell friends and family about negative experiences. This is compounded by the fact that 85% said that negative customer service experiences drives them to switch providers. Consumers generally believe - whether rightly or wrongly - that the loss of their business is the biggest motivator for companies to improve their customer service.

Billing and CRM must merge
Based on these results, Amdocs says that it is vital that service providers across the board recognise the importance of high quality customer service. With a wide range of choices available and intense competition for consumers' business, a service provider's profitability hinges on its ability to know everything about its customers, in order to build valuable relationships, leverage that value for profit, anticipate customers' needs, and take appropriate action based on all of that information.

In order to build loyalty and retain high value customers, Amdocs concludes, service providers can therefore no longer organise themselves around products; instead, they must provide customer care on a single, unified platform including CRM, billing and customer service. This approach brings the flexibility to introduce new services to the market more quickly, create packages that are appealing to consumers, and share information across the organisation to give a better overall customer experience.

"Customers today are more demanding than ever, and service-oriented organisations are changing the way they work in order to meet the demands of their customers," explained Michael Couture, vice president of marketing at Amdocs. "The results of our survey prove that if today's consumers aren't treated well, they will take their business elsewhere."

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