What Customer Service Mistakes Are UK Firms Making?

Whether it’s inefficient call handling, a reluctance to converse via social media, or an inability to deal with complaints outside of traditional working hours, companies are making plenty of mistakes when it comes to customer service.

If you fail to look after your customers, the chances of them bringing more business your way in the future are extremely slim. In an age where comparison websites make it easy for people to switch service providers and product suppliers, you cannot afford to alienate your loyal customers.

What exactly are businesses doing wrong?

A recent study conducted by Expert Market highlighted the fact that consumers are quickly losing their patience with unresponsive companies.

Tellingly, the research showed that British firms lose 85.5 per cent of callers if they don’t answer them within five minutes or less. This shouldn’t really surprise us, as we all know how frustrating it is to be stuck in a queue. Prompt responses are key, and nobody understands this more than alldayPA. We answer 98.6 per cent of our clients’ phone calls within three rings.

According to the study, the worst thing you can do is force your callers to listen to cheesy hold music for prolonged periods. More than 1,000 people took part in the survey, and around 67 per cent of this number said they would rather receive regular updates on their position in the queue than be tortured by bland music from the 1980s.

It appears that many firms are slow to deal with customer queries via email too. Almost three-quarters of Britons (72.4 per cent) would leave a business in favour of a competitor if they did not receive a response to their email within one day.

Although social media was not included in the Expert Market report, we’ve seen from numerous other studies that companies are making a real mess of Twitter-based customer service. Indeed, three-quarters of consumers who approach a business in this way do not receive a response at all.

Small businesses take note!

Expert Market’s customer representative Aisling Stringe summed the situation up quite nicely by saying: “Customer service is the key to scaling up in the UK. With such a small population and relatively concentrated wealth, you don’t want to lose any of them to your competition, no matter how small you are.”

This is sound advice for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners to follow. If you have ambitions of growing, you simply must look after your existing customers. It only takes a few critical tweets and Facebook messages for a company’s reputation to suffer irreparable damage, so make sure your customer service standards remain high.

As a firm’s customer base grows, it’s understandable that resources can become stretched, which is why many SMEs outsource their customer service departments to a third party specialist. In doing so, they can ensure that all of their customers are being dealt with in a professional and prompt manner, while they are left to map out the growth of their business empire.

It’s certainly the way forward.

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