• New research reveals we’re giving ‘on hold’ the cold shoulder
  • Good manners cost nothing, but could be worth up to £12 billion a year

New research reveals that half of us are taking our business elsewhere as a result of poor customer service, at an astonishing cost of £4.7m per day to UK businesses.

The survey of UK consumers carried out by NewVoiceMedia, a leading provider of cloud contact centre technology, reveals that 95 percent of us take some form of action following inadequate service, and half of us are so put off calling a business for fear of being kept on hold, we’ll switch to a competitor without even attempting to resolve a problem.

Survey results

  • 49% of us are put off calling a business for fear of being kept on hold
  • 1 in 3 16-24 year-olds will post online following poor customer service
  • It’s good to talk: 66% of us think calling gives us the quickest response
  • 40% are irritated by not being able to speak to a real person straight away
  • 56% of 16-24 year-olds are put off by the cost of calling a company
  • Men are more impatient than women and women are more vocal about recommending a business to others.

Top frustrations causing us to switch are lack of appreciation from a business (28%), unhelpful/rude contact centre staff (22%), being passed around multiple agents (16%), calls being answered by someone without the required knowledge to answer a query (16%) and being kept on hold (12%).

Faced with a negative experience, 56 percent would never use that company again, more than a quarter tell friends not to use the business, and a fifth would take their revenge online by posting a review. 14 percent would get even via social media.

Surprisingly, it’s the younger generation that are more willing to tolerate long hold times, perhaps due to a greater capacity for multi-tasking. 49 percent of 16 – 24 year-olds are prepared to wait 5 – 10 minutes before hanging up and 30 percent would wait 11 – 20 minutes. Of those aged 55+, only 9 percent would wait 11 – 20 minutes and 22 percent hang up within 5 minutes.

According to the results, men are generally more impatient than women, with a fifth prepared to wait less than 5 minutes (20%) versus only 13% of women. Following a great customer experience, women are more vocal at recommending the company – whereas men would actually use the service more frequently.

Jonathan Gale at NewVoiceMedia, who commissioned the research, comments:

This proves that Britain’s reputation for ‘grinning and bearing it’ when it comes to bad service is well and truly on the way out. We’re becoming less tolerant to anything less than perfect customer service, and we’ll instantly go elsewhere if it’s not up to scratch.

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