Out of reach businesses fall short of customer expectations – Chris Robinson, CEO at Yonder Digital Group
Winter is a busy time of year for businesses in many sectors, with Black Friday followed by Cyber Monday, and then Christmas and the January sales. But with sales shooting up around these and other events, consumer questions and queries can also rocket with figures suggesting as much as a 42% increase around some. Yet it seems companies are failing to respond with the customer service consumers expect,and not only at these key times either.
A recent survey of 2,000 UK consumers by Yonder Digital Group, on a wide range of consumer-facing sectors,found wide-scale under performance both in terms of resolving customer queries rapidly and effectively and in providing easy ways to get in touch. Many sectors were scored mainly as providing just‘basic’ or ‘poor’ service in these areas, with no more than a quarter of people rating any sector as excellent.
As one might expect, those online-only retailers without a physical presence,and therefore with the technology in place to provide a full service over the internet,scored highest, although even then only 25% of consumers put their contactability in the excellent category. Retail banking, hotels and supermarkets came next, scored excellent by 24%, 22.5% and 19.2% respectively, with hotels achieving the lowest ‘poor’ score, rated as such by just 9.6%, followed by supermarkets at 13.1%.
Judged the worst however were car brands, airlines and delivery services with the latter two rated as excellent by a mere 10%. In fact, delivery firms received the highest poor score, from 24.3% of those surveyed. Fashion and DIY stores were largely seen as offering basic contactability, categorised as such by 40.7% and 42.3% of people,and scored excellent by just slightly over 12%. And, falling roughly in the middle, the majority of people scored mobile phone companies, utilities, internet providers, and insurance companies as good or basic although utilities and internet providers were both rated as poor by almost a quarter each.
Yet with 77% of UK adults having bought something online in the past 12 months ,and people quick to defect to another company if they are unhappy with the one they are using, competition is growing ever stiffer for customer share. How easy a company is to get in touch with and how well they resolve issues can make all the difference: while 52% of UK consumers have switched companies due to poor customer service (costing the UK over £2bn a year), 73% of switchers in one survey said that better customer service would have impacted their decision .
Certainly, regardless of the sector, UK consumers expect a quick response when they contact a company, whatever the channel they are using. According to the Institute of Customer Service, instant online chat is now ranked as being the best way to deal with an organisation by 73% of consumers.Almost half (46%) however also expect a response within 24 hours if they contact an organisation via email, with 42% expecting the same for website contact and 33% for social media enquiries.
With the number of customers escalating their problems rising year on year, and research showing that complaints can result in more than three contacts when not resolved within the customer’s expected timescale , it is clear that unhappy customers can drive up costs for businesses significantly, even before they take their money elsewhere.
So, while some sectors are clearly performing better than others, evidently businesses in many sectors need to look seriously at improving their customer service. At the very least this means ensuring that they provide consumers with easy ways to get in touch through multiple touchpoints, and offer live agent support through phone or chat at key times of the day and night. Failure to offer this level of service will result not just in the extra costs caused by sorting out issues once they escalate, but ultimately in lost customers too.
Chris Robinson, CEO at Yonder Digital Group
For additional information on the Yonder Digital Group visit their Website