Customer service proving unsatisfactory, says report

Poor customer service means intentions differ from reality

Although businesses prioritise improving their customer service techniques, many customers are still left unimpressed, new research suggests.

The survey, conducted by international managed network and hosting company Easynet, found that almost half (46%) of British respondents cited customer service as the most important factor to their business, with making a profit coming in second with 12%.

However, the report suggested there is often a gap between good customer service intentions and  reality.

“It’s great that people believe their companies put customer service above profit and other factors,” said Martin Molloy, customer operations director at Easynet.

“Excellent customer service is the foundation of business success, and it’s something most companies claim to be good at. But not many have the skills and commitment to follow through on their promise. “There is a gap between intent and ability.”

Research found that poor customer service is often affected by insufficient resources and inadequate communications within a business. According to results, the average time it takes for a call to be answered is almost five minutes, while three quarters of calls are answered with an automated response.

John Kemp, from the European Customer Care Alliance said:

“Many customers have experienced significant problems with a service and most companies greet these complaints with a sub-standard response.

“Customers just end up getting angrier and angrier.”

However, Molloy at Easynet was quick to reiterate the benefits of good customer service: “Investing in customer service actually reduces costs because it builds the customer base,” he said.

“It breeds customer loyalty and retention, turning customers into brand champions.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2007

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