Customers turned off by poor service levels

Rude and unhelpful staff are the biggest single hurdle to developing customer loyalty, according to an Air Miles UK survey exclusive to Marketing Week.

The survey found that 54 per cent of the 1,000 people interviewed were most likely to become disloyal because of rude and unhelpful staff.

Young people in the 18-to-24 age bracket are the group most affected by rude staff – 60 per cent cited it as a reason for “disloyalty” to a retailer or service provider.

Judith Thorne, Air Miles UK marketing director, says: “This shows that customer service and the way companies interact with customers is an integral part of building customer loyalty.”

According to Thorne, advertising which over-hypes the offer can seriously damage loyalty.

She says: “Advertising is fantastic for putting a thought into the consumer’s mind, but people will be very disappointed if the promise isn’t delivered.”

One in five of the survey’s respondents said poor value for money would challenge their loyalty and one in ten would turn their backs on suppliers who “do not seem to listen”.

Complaints are most likely to come from extremely loyal customers while those claiming to “feel no loyalty” will simply switch retailer without explaining why.

Combining fair prices with good service is the surest way to win loyalty, say 54 per cent of respondents.

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