Shopping (2)

British shoppers have revealed how poor customer service can influence heavily on whether they would return to buy a second product or service from a business, indicating the negative impact some UK organisations face.

One in six Britons claim to experience poor customer service at least once a week and as a result of this, 43% of consumers have purposely not bought a second product or service from an organisation, according to the study by The Institute of Customer Service.

The biggest concern amongst consumers included the lack of employees offering immediate help (56%).

Other shoppers said that ‘disinterested’ staff (51%), poor complaint handling (35%), and ‘unhelpful’ attitudes (36%) would lead them to turn away from visiting the organisation or business.

As a result, 84% of the respondents believe that customer-facing staff need more training to reverse the trend.

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, said: “Excellent customer service is something we all demand and something we all expect, yet it is clearly not something we all see.

“Anything less than the best service risks customers taking their business elsewhere and, in today’s uncertain economy, there are no organisations that can afford to take long-term customer relationships for granted”.

When it comes to securing brand loyalty, 18% of British public considers a courteous and helpful attitude, closely followed by staff providing correct information at the first attempt and professionalism as the top three attributes, warning that anything less will turn them away.

Despite the British public’s reputation for patience, most UK consumers demand a speedy response rate, with 46% expecting a response within 24 hours if they contact an organisation via email, with over two fifths saying the same for website contact.

Instant online chat is now also ranked by 73% of consumers as the best way to deal with an organisation.

Ms Causon added: “With 70% of the UK’s working population in a customer-facing role the impact that good service can have on customer retention and repeat purchase should be the number one concern of any Boardroom.

“Service skills may come naturally for some, but where they are absent, they can be still be learned. Successful executive teams realise that by focusing on service skills development they are investing in the long-term stability and future of their organisation.”

The latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) by ICS found that overall customer satisfaction had actually increased by 1.2 points year-on-year, the biggest growth since 2011.

The UKCSI also said that the early phase of a customers’ relationship with an organisation is crucial as customers are more likely to have a problem and low satisfaction with bad complaint handling.