Poor customer service erodes loyalty

Poor customer service is eroding customer loyalty and confidence in retail brands, new research has revealed.

Nearly a third of UK consumers have become less loyal to retail brands in the last five years, a study by Kana found.

One major issue for customers was the number of times they had to repeat their complaint to different people within the same company. Almost half of respondents said they had to repeat information during their last communication with a retailer.

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All age groups identified repetition as a problem; however, it occurs most frequently for customers under the age of 35—with one in 20 repeating themselves at least five times. Only 30% of these younger customers had their issue resolved after one interaction. By contrast, 64% of customers over the age of 65 did not have to repeat their complaint at all, feeling satisfied after first contact.

This apparent disparity between levels of service has the potential to drive younger consumers elsewhere. Of those who feel less loyal to retail brands, 37% of 18-to-24-year-olds cite service as the key factor versus just 20% of those aged 65 and older.

“By forcing consumers to repeat themselves, often several times over a prolonged period, organisations not only deliver inefficient service that costs them money—they seriously affect future consumer loyalty," said Steven Thurlow, head of worldwide product strategy for Kana. "The need for repetition shows not only poor management of customer data, channels and context, but more fundamentally a lack of ownership of the consumer’s problem and lack of appreciation for their effort levels.”

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