Poor customer service costing billions

One in four people have left a financial services company or utility provider in the past year following poor customer service, according to a new report.

Given the large customer bases in these industries, the cost to those businesses in terms of lost revenue is estimated at £2bn. When a consumer defects it is also costly for a rival to gain that business, since a company must recoup the marketing expense of gaining a customer.

Poor customer service is thus having a “significant” impact on UK businesses, with the cost to the UK economy estimated at estimated at £15.3bn.

The report, including an online poll of 514 consumers, was carried out by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories in partnership with Datamonitor and Ovum.

It concluded that that hard-to-navigate self-service systems, long waiting times and constantly having top repeat information were the main sources of frustration.

Consumer satisfaction also varied dramatically between communication channels, with most people happy with live agents and e-mail, but disillusioned with voice self-service and mobile/SMS service.

The results show customer loyalty is “extremely low” while “churn is high”, says Lucille Jackson Genesys UK marketing manager. “Customer expectations of what constitutes good customer service are constantly rising, so it’s not enough for businesses to keep doing what they have always done.”

Some 83% of consumers who would welcome proactive engagement to improve their experience through extended offers or help during self-service transactions.

Similar research on the quality of consumers’ online experience was carried out by Global Reviews recently. It concluded that savings providers in the UK have two main areas requiring improvement: how they communicate their products online and how they meet their customers’ needs.

This is worrying news for marketers, especially considering that the National Savings & Investments quarterly survey reported this summer that savings levels have hit the highest point in almost five years.

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