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Throughout 2013, NewVoiceMedia carried out an in-depth investigation into attitudes to customer service in the UK and US. Findings offered a compelling view of the consequences of poor service, with billions being transferred between businesses every year as customers switch following a bad experience. (£12 billion UK/$41 billion US).

Today we announced findings that UK consumers are less tolerant to poor customer service than those in the US. Added to that, they spend more prior to switching; meaning UK businesses are losing twice as much as American companies each year. But service should remain a top priority for US firms, as Americans are actually twice as likely to tell others about a bad experience.

While it was interesting to see that UK consumers are more likely to switch, the principal reason offered was the same – that they didn’t feel appreciated as a customer. Other factors causing people to ditch a business include unhelpful and rude staff and having to repeat themselves to multiple agents.

UK consumers are also the most likely to offer the business an opportunity to resolve the issue, by writing to complain. Across the Atlantic, consumers are less forgiving, with half eager to spread the word, advising friends and colleagues not to use the company. However, the good news is that both studies prove organisations can significantly increase their business if they invest in providing a positive customer experience. Following great service, respondents are more loyal and use the company more frequently.

Voice continues to be the channel of choice for customer service, but particularly in the US where it’s nearly twice as popular as email. Both regions combined, 71% consider it to be the most effective channel for a quick response. With this in mind, there are some simple steps that a company can take to get it right. Don’t leave customers on hold, resolve issues quickly and integrate your telephony with a cloud CRM system to provide a personalised service.

Get it wrong and, thanks to social media, internet forums and review channels, the modern consumer has a convenient public platform at their fingertips to spread negative sentiment about a business. The findings reveal that social media is a more popular channel in the US, but in both regions, the younger generation are the quickest to head online following a poor experience. With more and more people turning online to read about others’ experiences before choosing a product or supplier, this can cause considerable damage to a company’s reputation.

For organisations to remain relevant, they have to change the relationship they have with their customers – treating them as individuals, understanding buying patterns, likes and dislikes, and the overall experience they have with their business. Companies need to harness the power of cloud technology to offer personalised and engaging experiences every time, through every channel.

Martin Hill-Wilson, Sarah Stealey Reed, ICMI, and our SVP Marketing, Tim Pickard, will be hosting a webinar tomorrow (February 27th), to review critical findings from this research. You can even join the discussion on Twitter with the tag #switchers

Register here and then download our free research report.

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About Jonathan Gale

Jonathan is the Chief Executive Officer at NewVoiceMedia. He has previously held senior roles at Mimecast, MessageLabs and BT. In his blog Jonathan will give his own perspective on the use of cloud-based technology for businesses and call centres. Outside of work Jonathan is an accomplished triathlete and competes in the MSA National Historic Rally Championship.

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