More than half of customers have ditched a company because of poor telephone customer service - a stark warning to businesses in light of the fact that almost two thirds of customers still prefer to communicate with a company via telephone.
These are the findings of a study by Natterbox which surveyed 1,000 UK respondents, revealing that despite the social media hype, most customers still prefer to speak with a service agent on the phone.
In the study, only 28% of customers preferred communication via email and just 4% voted for Twitter as their favourite method of contact.
The research also showed that internet providers provided the most poor customer service with 22% of customers admitting they had cancelled their services due to a frustrating phone experience. Mobile phone companies came in second place with 20% followed by telephone companies (15%), energy suppliers (13%) and banks (10%), according to the poll.
In total, 62% of respondents cancelled their service with these companies because of bad telephone customer service, according to the research,
Neil Hammerton, CEO at Natterbox, commented: "Almost everyone is on social networks these days but the telephone is still king when it comes to customer service. There’s nothing like being able to speak to another human being to get a problem resolved.
"But with this reliance on call centres comes pressure to deliver the goods quickly and professionally. Busy consumers don’t have the time or patience to tolerate shoddy service and it only takes one bad experience to lose their custom for good."
He continued: "As businesses increasingly move their operations online and away from the highstreet, the telephone contact centre is often their only personal interaction with the customer, so it’s vital to get it right. There is pressure to control costs but technology exists now that can streamline the caller experience, automatically putting them through to the right person, first time. Nowadays there should be no excuse to leave frustrated customers hanging on the telephone."