Customer service affecting brand loyalty

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Young shoppers are falling out of love with their favourite retail brands when customer service fails to impress a new survey has found.

The research, carried out among 2,000 UK consumers on behalf of customer service specialist Kana Software, also found that complaints from customers under the age of 35 are taken less seriously by brands.

Nearly one-third (30%) of UK consumers have grown less loyal to retail brands in the past five years with a quarter identifying poor customer service as their main reason.

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Consumers were particularly irritated by having to repeat their complaints to multiple people within the same company, with those under the age of 35 having to repeat themselves most often. Only 30% of this group had their complaint resolved after one interaction while five percent were forced to repeat their complaint on at least five occasions. By contrast, 64 percent of customers over the age of 65 did not have to repeat their complaint at all, feeling satisfied after first contact.

Steven Thurlow, head of worldwide product strategy for Kana Software, commented: “By forcing consumers to repeat themselves, often several times over a prolonged period, organisations not only deliver inefficient service that costs them money—they seriously affect future consumer loyalty. The need for repetition shows not only poor management of customer data, channels and context, but more fundamentally a lack of ownership of the consumer’s problem and lack of appreciation for their effort levels.

"The younger generation has higher expectations of digital channels, collaborative and social communications and asks ‘how hard can it be.’ They won’t take seriously an organisation that is unable to do the basics right, and these expectations are rising all the time.”

The research also found that one-in-ten adults have used at least five different customer channels to contact a retailer in the last six months including web-based chat, email and face-to-face in store.

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