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Poor service costs firms £11bn

News, 25 May 2016

LONDON: UK companies are losing close to £11bn a year because of poor customer service, according to a new report which examines specific customer complaints.

NewVoiceMedia, a global provider of cloud technology, reached its estimate of £11bn after following up on its inaugural customer experience survey of 2013.

Back then, NewVoiceMedia estimated the cost of poor customer service to UK firms to be £12bn. Despite the improvement, it said companies have more to do.

Its survey results were delivered in an infographic, which did not include a sample, revealing that 42% of UK consumers left a business in the past year because of perceived inadequate service.

The top reasons given for leaving were consistent with the previous study and included feeling unappreciated (44%), unhelpful and rude staff (35%), being passed around to multiple agents (33%), not being able to get answers (27%), being fed up with queuing (27%) and not being able to speak to a person (25%).

Almost half (49%) of respondents indicated emailing as their preferred method of communication with a business, yet 61% considered calls to be the quickest way of resolving an issue.

However, consumers flagged being kept on hold as the top reason (48%) they dislike calling companies. They also noted not being able to speak to a "real person" straight away (42%), having to repeat info to multiple agents (39%), the cost of calling (38%) and needing to navigate multiple menus (36%) as off-putting.

More positively, when provided with good service, customers indicated they would be more loyal (68%), recommend the company to others (59%), use the company more frequently (34%) and spend more money (30%).

"With revenue being transferred between companies at an alarming rate, this research highlights the considerable impact that customers have on a business's success", said Jonathan Gale, CEO of NewVoiceMedia.

"Customer experience is the key differentiator, and by doing it well, organisations can drive the customer acquisition, retention and efficiency that make leading companies successful."

Data sourced from NewVoiceMedia; additional content by Warc staff