The Quality of Customer Service Offered by UK Businesses is Getting Worse

With the Institute of Customer Service reporting customer service in the UK has dropped to its lowest level since 2010, there has never been a more important time for businesses to know about consumers growing expectations.

The report found customer relationships are entering a new phase, and many businesses are struggling to respond to the change in customer needs, technologies and business models. Businesses who want to appeal to today’s connected customer must focus on the service delivered across all platforms.

As customer expectations grow, everything less than a guaranteed satisfaction will leave relationships broken. For businesses to thrive, focus must be placed on delivering quality to customers, which in return, will generate trust, recommendation and loyalty.

Customer Service Matters to Business Growth

There is a strong link between customer satisfaction, sales growth and market share. Although price and convenience are powerful deciding factors, the organisations with the highest overall satisfaction levels almost always outperform competitors. It’s important for businesses to understand their target market, monitor their needs and adapt accordingly.

Customer Satisfaction Index 2014/15 Scores by Sector

The graph above shows the changes in customer satisfaction levels by sector over the last 12 months. Many of the traditional highest scoring sectors have seen customer satisfaction drop this year compared to one year ago. The Retail (Food) sector has fallen by 1.2 points and both the Automotive and Leisure sectors have declined by 1.4 points.

The High Cost of Poor Customer Service

The 2015 UK State of Multichannel Customer Service report conducted by Microsoft demonstrates customer service has become a key differentiator in customer acquisition and retention, with 97 percent of consumers surveyed agreeing customer service is an important factor when choosing a business.

Sixty-three percent of the 1,000 UK consumers surveyed said they have stopped doing business with a brand or organisation due to a poor customer experience.

Top Customer Service Frustrations Include:

A further study from First Direct found UK businesses are losing approximately £7.7 billion annually due to poor customer service. In the climate of rising customer expectations, especially around speed and convenience, customer service is the key differentiator between business success and failure.

Learn To Be a Customer Service Champ

If we take a look at the highest scoring organisations in each sector (table above) we can see first direct has the overall highest ranking in July 2015 with an overall customer satisfaction score of 87. What makes first direct, and other ranking brands customer service champions in their sector?

Essential Service Requirements For Customer Satisfaction:

Be driven

In order to improve the quality of customer service being offered by UK businesses, companies need to shift their focus away from making sales and increase their bottom line to a customer-driven organisation. Your company must strive to exceed customer expectations and compass the extra mile. Once achieved, customers will be more likely to repeat business and recommend their friends.

Be available

Today’s connected customer expects to be able to contact your business 24/7/365. You must be able to accommodate this desire by offering around the clock responses. Delight your customers by offering information and answers to their queries when and where they need it.

Be timely

Always respond quickly and efficiently to customer enquiries and issues that arise. Let your customer-base know they’re valued as a person and their opinions matter. Even if you don’t have an immediate solution for a customer, it’s important to acknowledge their query and offer what direction you can.

Be human

No matter what platform your customer chooses to contact you, your response should always be direct and human. Automated responses cause frustration, so never greet a customer with a voicemail, engaged tone or automated e-mail. When a customer contacts you, show you care with a personal message.

Be focused

Without customers, you wouldn’t have a business. Focus on what is important in delivering the best possible service and experience with every potential lead and customer.

Did we meet your expectations?

Many businesses don’t have the resources to compete with the superbrands. The key is to set realistic customer expectations and then try to exceed them by offering the unexpected. Delivering a high-quality service which is aligned to exceed customer expectations requires your whole workforce, from product development to marketing and sales, to work in harmony with brand values.

Customer service is a competitive battleground where business is won and lost. Whether dealing with customers face-to-face, on social media or over the phone, all focus must be placed on delivering a superior experience. Learn how alldayPA’s telephone answering services can help you to achieve exceptional customer service.

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