UK companies falling down on customer service

Friday 31 May 2013

Many UK businesses are failing to live up to expectations in terms of customer service, a new study has indicated.

Research conducted by comparison website uSwitch found that only a third (34 per cent) of consumers believe they receive good levels of service.

The finding suggests many companies are failing to recognise the importance of strong customer relationship management (CRM).

But with many consumers (73 per cent) prepared to let companies get away with poor customer service, firms may not be paying the price for this neglect.

One in ten rarely or never complain, while three in ten will only occasionally complain even though they have a legitimate concern.

Some 60 per cent of survey respondents said there is no point in making complaints as it won't make any difference.

And 58 per cent said they are put off raising their concerns and objections due to the hassle involved.

A quarter of respondents (25 per cent) pointed to fear factors such as a lack of confidence, feeling intimidated or a previous bad experience.

Of those surveyed, 44 per cent have found customer service teams to be obstructive, 32 per cent have encountered rudeness, and 24 per cent have had a member of staff refuse to give them their name.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said the survey indicates that the number of complaints received by companies is actually just the tip of an iceberg.

"Consumers regularly receive shoddy service, but often feel unable or unwilling to complain," she stated.

"This is bad for consumers and bad for the companies too as, without this vital feedback, they lose the chance to listen and improve and could easily end up seeing their customers disappearing out of their door and into the arms of a rival."

Ms Robinson urged all organisations to sit up and take note, and take steps to make it easier for customers to get in touch and have their views taken seriously.

"Be receptive to what [consumers] have to say and make sure that both customers and staff are empowered to tackle issues in a constructive, honest and open way," she advised.

To find out more about Microsoft's customer relationship management solutions, click here.

Posted by Jenny Arthur