We’ve seen the best and the worst this week in the customer service industry. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has revealed this year’s Top 10 US Retailers with the Worst Customer Service, and two new studies came out with some interesting data on Customer Experience.
Here are 5 things we learn about UK and US consumers this week:
1. UK consumers are less tolerant of poor customer service than US consumers.
A study conducted by NewVoiceMedia shows that 5 out of 10 UK consumers switch service providers because of customer service dissatisfaction, and 4 out of 10 US consumers would do the same. That goes to show that UK businesses are losing twice as much as American companies each year because of poor customer service.
Meanwhile, as Britons are quick to shift to a different service provider, Americans, on the other hand, take it to social media when they’re inconvenienced by a company. Nearly 60 percent (59.3 percent) of the American respondents admit that bad customer service prompt them to post negative comments on social media.
2. 48% of consumers take their business elsewhere because of dissatisfaction with customer service.
The same NewVoiceMedia study shows that on average, 48% of consumers take their business elsewhere because of dissatisfaction with customer service. Put on hold for longer than 5 minutes, they hang up and shift service providers, without even trying to resolve the issue.
Whether for US or UK customers, providing satisfactory service and support to customers is essential in every business. With good customer service, you don’t only retain your existing customers, your customers also serve as your most effective word-of-mouth marketing agents.
3. Poor customer experience in the US is, essentially, hinged on employee dissatisfaction.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, who has long been known for its exemplary customer service, once said, “you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.” There seems to be a direct correlation between employee dissatisfaction and poor customer experience, and we see this in action in the retail industry.
Among the top 10 US retailers with worst customer service are some of the largest brick-and-mortar stores in the country such as Macy’s, Walgreen, CVS, and Walmart, to name a few. Large retailers often pay their employees fairly low wages and offer few benefits. Macy’s even laid off 2,500 employees last year to cut costs. As a result, most of these retailers received mediocre reviews from past and present employees, and without adequate amount of customer service representatives, more customers are not being properly attended to.
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first,“ author Simon Sinek says. Apparently, when you cut back costs on your customer service front, you could be losing even more customers, and essentially, more revenues.
4. Customer service in the UK is generally, “getting better.”
In spite of everything, a recent study made by British Standards Institute (BSI) shows that almost a quarter (22%) of consumers say customer service is getting better, a percentage that’s up from 9.1% in 2009. And although 29% of the respondents think that customer service is getting worse, that’s actually significantly halved from the 64% score it got in 2009.
BSI head of market development for services, Dan Palmer, said: “Good customer service is a critical and essential element in customer retention. Although this research shows that customer service has improved greatly, businesses still have a long way to go in bolstering the loyalty of their customers.”
5. Customer satisfaction with retailers in the US is at “an all-time high.”
And while we’ve seen large US retailers fail horribly in the customer service front, customer satisfaction has apparently increased across the retail industry by 1.7% from last year according to ASCI. This only goes to show that more and more companies are placing more attention on customer experience, and making sure that customer feedback are being addressed.