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Broken promises and poor service the biggest customer turn-offs

3rd May 2012
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Failing to deliver promises and poor customer service are likely to result in cancelled customer subscriptions with few willing to return, according to new research.

Employee engagement agency INVOLVE surveyed 2,000 UK consumers and found 68% were likely to cancel a subscription to a service when they experienced a big difference between what they were promised and what they experienced.

Over half claimed they were likely to cancel when they had contacted the organisation regarding a problem and felt the person in charge was reluctant to help them, said the study.

Two thirds of respondents claimed that despite liking a service, they would cancel the service if they were poorly treated by a customer service representative. Alternatively, if a service is inconsistent but the people representing the service treat customers well, 48% claimed they would not automatically stop using the service, said the study.

Once left, it is unlikely that companies can draw customers back with nearly 80% of those surveyed saying they had never been persuaded to return to a company or service provider. The research showed financial incentives proved to have little impact in persuasion with only 8% claiming to have been won back by a better deal or discount and only 4% when a company lowered their prices.

Jeremy Starling, MD at INVOLVE, says: “It’s essential that companies have great people responding to customers’ needs, but they have to involve their employees in developing the most effective methods and behaviours for delivering great service. Employees need to do the simple things well – listen, understand and respond in a way that reflects the company’s values.”

Despite the social media hype, the research also revealed that a staggering 84% would prefer to speak to a customer representative via the phone than use social media channels.

Starling added: “The survey shows most customers will give businesses an opportunity to treat them well and retain them as loyal customers when problems occur. And 84% of them agree they are more likely to recommend a service if the people representing it impress them and treat them like human beings. In this sense company’s customer service employees are critical to retaining customers as well as gaining new ones through recommendations; we all know how powerful it is when a friend recommends a service or product to us.”

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