Europeans pleased with customer service

13 May 2011

LONDON: Most European consumers are happy with the level of service they receive after contacting a brand owner, a new survey has found.

Aspect, a specialist software provider, questioned 1,345 adults from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK to gain an insight into popular attitudes covering this matter.

Exactly 70% of people polled were either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" by the overall response of the firms they dealt with, hitting 76% in the UK.

The average total also marked an improvement on the score of 53% recorded in a similar study from 2007, when the UK rating reached 55%.

Upon being asked how they last contacted a company about an issue in this field, 36% of the panel opted to phone, compared with 35% sending an email.

An additional 8% chose traditional mail, 7% employed online self-service platforms, and 5% leveraged Web 2.0 properties like Facebook and Twitter.

In combination, 56% of the sample had accessed new media tools as a means of getting in touch with suppliers of goods and services, measured against 44% for more established channels.

There was a degree of variation within the findings, as only 24% of Britons typically called the firm concerned, while 16-24 year olds displayed a greater willingness to utilise social media.

Elsewhere, 65% of interviewees reported their query was resolved on the first or second "contact", although in Spain and the Netherlands, 40% had been required to complete three engagements or more.

Some 70% of the individuals who were pleased with the service they had experienced generally saw problems sorted out at the first or second attempt.

For 40% of those less enamoured regarding corporate performance in this area, it took at least three tries to achieve such a goal.

In defining what makes good customer service, 73% of Europeans mentioned "secure handling of personal data", 69% pointed to a "prompt response" and 65% cited the "friendliness" of staff.

Another 35% referenced the ability to deploy smartphone apps, web chat and social media, a perception shared by 41% of the UK community.

"Consumers in different European countries clearly have varying views on what constitutes good service, and different expectations when it comes to key elements of service delivery such as channel choice," said Mark King, Aspect's svp, Europe and Africa.

"These factors must be taken into account when making key operational decisions and devising pan-European service strategies."

Data sourced from Aspect; additional content by Warc staff