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65% of US customers feel they put more effort in than brands to resolve issues

2nd Mar 2016
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Brands are regularly being informed they should embrace complaints and use negative reviews to their advantage.    

However, new research from Ipsos Loyalty highlights the difficulty most companies have in firstly being able to handle complaints to the satisfaction of their customers.

Surveying over 10,000 consumers across the US, the study found that 65% customers felt they had to put more effort in to get an issue resolved than they were expecting.

50% perceive that companies have made little effort to resolve the issue, while six in ten customers feel they have had to put more effort in than the companies involved, in order to sort an issue.

“These numbers are sobering,” says Jean-Francois Damais, deputy managing director for global client services at Ipsos.

“And especially to companies that have invested an enormous amount of time and resources to improving the customer experience. Strikingly, in one of three cases companies aren’t even aware of complaints when they do happen.

“Companies need to start tracking the Customer: Company Effort ratio as a better indicator of potential churn and bad mouthing. Following a complaint, companies can step in to reduce the pain of customers, with soft actions such as an apology or hard actions such as offering some form of financial compensation. The rewards of doing so will be high.”

Customer effort is a controversial topic. While a significant amount of research has gone into establishing Customer Effort Score as a metric for deciphering how loyal customers are likely to be based on the effort it takes for them to use products and services, there are some experts that believe reducing customer effort isn’t always a silver bullet for improving satisfaction levels, and that some level of effort is required in order for the customer-brand relationship to have any longevity.

However, whether this transcends into complaints resolution is debateable – according to research commissioned by Netcall in 2014,  43% of consumers are still being overly frustrated by not receiving 'first contact resolution' when raising a query with a brand, and instead having their issues immediately escalated to someone senior within the contact centre, prolonging interactions and adding cost to both customer and business.

In the complaint handlers' defence, one in three (32%) call centre agents felt they lacked sufficient knowledge to help customer issues and 22% said incorrect or inconsistent customer information held on different systems was a problem.       

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