US consumers more likely to complain about service than Brits

28th Nov 2013

It seems that stereotypes are all still too true in the world of customer service with new research showing that Americans are more direct in service complaints than their polite UK counterparts.

A new study from KANA Software found that Americans complain one and a half times more than the British do each year, but spend less time vocalising their concerns. Brits, on the other hand, were shown to get bogged down in service queues when trying to get their complaints resolved.

Perhaps it’s the American attitude to getting things done that brings about the quicker result. The survey showed that Brits prefer to complain via email (42%) whereas Americans favour to pick up the phone (39%).

Americans are also more likely to complain in front of an audience with social the second most favourable complaints channel. Whereas UK consumers were shown to require higher levels of resourcefulness with the average complaint requiring four points of contact versus the three required by US consumers.

What unites both countries is a near-identical percentage of consumers that have complained in the last three years – 71% in the US and 72% in the UK – showing that brands are providing a similar level of service both here and across the pond.

James Norwood, CMO for KANA, said: “It appears that British stoicism manifests itself in fewer complaints and a more patient approach to queuing. Our research shows US complaints on average are lodged and resolved in an hour, while in the UK, customers spend a half day of their precious time achieving resolution.

“Organisations ought to beware if they think that the British mistake ‘complaint’ and ‘compliant. There is mounting evidence in our research that tech-savvy youth will bring the full force of their social media skills to play when they reach the sweet spot for consumer complaints at age 25. If organisations aren’t focusing on seeing social media as the 21st century version of the store counter they are in for a major reputational challenge.” 


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