Bad service tops consumer gripe list

Busy stores also draw complaints in PCR customer service survey
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An exclusive survey commissioned by PCR has revealed hard-won customer loyalty is most likely to be broken by bad service.

We asked 250 shoppers what would stop them being loyal to a particular retailer. A huge majority – 69.77 per cent – cited bad service as the main factor that would turn them away. Furthermore, a customer who’s experienced bad service is likely to tell their friends and colleagues.

As Best Buy’s head of computing, René Wright, commented: “Even if a customer does go through with a sale when they are dissatisfied with the level of customer service, they are much less likely to return and may even feel resentful about their purchase and you’ll be sure they’ll tell everyone they know about it.”

Surprisingly, second on the list of ‘loyalty breakers’ was the store being too busy. Survey respondents said this often meant products weren’t easily visible or that staff weren’t available to help. Retailers all want busy shops, but perhaps this shows that they need to consider what a truly busy shop really looks like to a customer – do aisles look too cramped? Are enough staff are employed during busy periods?

Following on from this, Infinite Field Marketing, which carried out the survey, also asked shoppers what they felt a good solution to a complaint was. Over forty per cent said a discount would make them happy, while 29.46 per cent said improved customer service would do. Twenty-eight per cent wanted an apology.

No one wants shoppers to have negative experiences, but retailers can and should learn from them. Anant Pitrola, from Ask Direct’s customer service team, said: “If we do receive any negative feedback, we look to resolve the issue as soon as possible and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

You can read an in-depth feature on customer service with more results from PCR's survey here.

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