Poor customer service? UK customers quicker to leave, US customers quicker to share experiences

UK customers are more likely to leave a supplier because of poor customer service than those in the US, but Americans are more likely to tell others about their negative experience.

That’s according to recent research from NewVoiceMedia which reveals that UK consumers are less tolerant of poor customer service. The result is that UK companies are losing twice the amount of business that American companies are.

That’s because UK customers typically spend more than their US counterparts with one particular supplier. NewVoiceMedia estimates that the total lost by UK companies due to poor customer experiences is nearly £12 billion worth of business!

The report also highlighted that…

  • 50% of UK consumers will switch following a bad experience compared with 44% of those from the US
  • In the UK, 49% say that being kept on hold is the biggest irritation, yet we’re prepared to hold for longer than our US counterparts, with only 16% saying they’d hang up after five minutes, compared with 22% of Americans
  • While UK consumers are more prone to switching, we’re also the most likely to offer the business an opportunity to ‘deal with disappointment’ as 58% would write to complain compared to 37% in the US
  • US consumers are much more vocal, with 50% eager to spread the word telling friends and colleagues not to use the company, compared with only 27% of us here in the UK
  • In both regions, women are more patient than men when it comes to waiting, but they’re more likely to complain than men

On a positive note, on both sides of the Atlantic…

  • 72% of respondents said that good service had a considerable influence on their loyalty and…
  • 70% would recommend the company to others
  • US customers are more likely to spend more money with the business as a result (42% vs 34% UK)
  • Overall, good service influences women more than men, with women more likely to recommend the business to others

So what does it all mean? Well, it’s clear that the impact of creating ‘disappointed’ customers, regardless of which side of the water you’re on, is costly!

Our research shows that 3D businesses ‘deal with disappointment!’ How do they do it? Well, here are five steps to consider when ‘dealing with disappointment’ in your business…

1. Acknowledge it!

A business that acknowledges that it got things wrong, particularly if it is ‘out of character’, and deals with it effectively, can often turn ‘Disappointment’ into ‘Delight’. In other words, just because things go wrong, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost that customer. Acknowledging the problem can demonstrate that you actually care, and many will respond positively.

2. Empower for it!

As a result, the best businesses ‘empower’ their people to ‘Deal with Disappointment. I’m often skeptical about the word ‘empowerment’ because it’s so over used, but in those businesses that do it properly, things get done when things go wrong.

A simple test to see how ‘empowered’ your people really are is ‘How much can your people spend or authorise to solve a customer’s problem without having to come to senior management for ‘permission’? For example, Timpson’s allows £500 and Ritz Carlton Hotels give everyone in their business authority to spend up to $2,000 to resolve a customer’s problem or deal with a complaint on the spot without having to get permission from a manager. Now, THAT’s empowerment!

3. Prepare for it!

What are the things that typically create your Disappointed customers? Why not get your people together and identify typical or regular problems, and then develop ideas and solutions to sort it out. Train them, put processes and systems to deal with disappointment.

4. Look for it!

Instead of just ‘dealing with disappointment’, 3D businesses  look for it. They don’t wait for complaints, they go out and find them! In fact, 3D businesses probably get more complaints than others because their people are actively asking for them!

It might seem weird, but the easier you are to complain to, the more customer-focused you’re likely to be!

5. Just deal with it!

So go on, you know it makes sense. Disappointment? Learn to look for it and deal with it regardless of which side of the Atlantic you are!

‘Disappointed’ Customers are just one of the 10 D‘s Of Different Customers – a Dramatically Different way of helping you focus and maximise your sales, marketing and customer relationship management efforts and resources. For a free, 20 page e-book that outlines what it means for your business, click here.

For more about NewVoiceMedia’s customer service research, download the ‘Serial Switchers’ reports

 

About Andy Hanselman

Andy is passionate about helping businesses and individuals improve their competitiveness by ‘Thinking in 3D!’ That means being ‘Dramatically and Demonstrably Different!’ Andy regularly speaks at conferences and industry events, runs workshops, provides business consultancy and shares ideas, tools and techniques that offer real solutions to today’s business challenges. He has also written two books: ‘Thinking in 3D’ and ‘Revolutionise The Profitability Of Your Business’ and writes regularly for business magazines, journals and websites, as well as his own blog.