A new report on the standard of customer service in 2022, has revealed that UK consumers are growing more and more frustrated with the subpar service they are receiving – and many feel that customer support simply isn't a priority for most organisations.
Conducted by FM Outsource, the research revealed that nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents feel that the general standard of customer service has declined in recent years.
When asked why they believed this was occurring, nearly half (42%) of those surveyed claimed that they didn’t believe customer service was a widespread business priority, with 38% stating that companies take their customers for granted, and 23% chalking it up to a lack of financial investment.
And whilst 33% of respondents did attribute the recent decline in customer service standards to the poor attitude of customer service agents, responses also suggest that even when consumers do have a less than satisfactory encounter with an agent, they still primarily believe this to be a failing on the part of the business.
60% of consumers stated that they believe poor training for employees is the main cause of bad customer service interactions, with 43% putting it down to a lack of employee engagement.
The overall findings of the report clearly implies that consumers largely place the blame for poor customer service with the business itself, not with individual agents that they have interacted with.
What will the shift towards blaming businesses rather than agents mean for the reputations of these companies?
Despite the findings of this report, the number of businesses that view customer service as a cost is actually on the rise – a major concern for both businesses and customers.
The level of damage that a poor customer experience can cause should not be overlooked, as many companies found to their cost during the pandemic.
When asked whether a conversation had negatively impacted their relationship with a brand or business, 86% of respondents agreed.
86% of respondents stated that a conversation had negatively impacted their relationship with a brand or business.
Moreover, nearly half (47%) of people admitted to ceasing to purchase from them altogether, while 41% said they have reduced their spending.
The damage doesn’t end with the individual, either. Bad customer service interactions can have a ripple effect: 31% of respondents confirmed that they have told friends or family to avoid a brand following a negative customer service conversation, with 26% going so far as to leave a critical review online.
While some companies may not like to view customer service as an essential business function, the truth is that their reputation is intrinsically linked to the customer experiences they provide.
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