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Businesses failing in customer service stakes
The study highlights a preference for dealing with businesses via the internet

Poor customer experience is costing UK brands at least £234 billion a year, as customers abandon online purchases in frustration and take their business elsewhere.

Some 92 per cent of consumers have had a poor customer experience and one in three have acted on their frustration by abandoning a purchase because they couldn’t find the information they needed, according to a study by Magnetic North.

The survey of 1,000 consumers compared buying experiences across multiple market sectors, including utilities, phone, TV and broadband, clothing, travel, home improvement, entertainment and groceries.

The study highlights a preference for dealing with businesses via the internet, with 62 per cent preferring to research online and 69 per cent preferring to make a purchase online.

The web is even the preferred channel for negative feedback, with 41 per cent of consumers preferring to make complaints online, compared to 24 per cent on the phone, showing that brands need to make the whole customer experience multichannel right through to the feedback process. 

Consumers are increasingly making purchases via their mobile, with one in five consumers preferring to research potential purchases or service providers on a mobile or tablet device, highlighting the importance of brands making the entire customer experience mobile friendly.

The UK’s consumers are not just abandoning one-off purchases, they are also switching long-term allegiance as a result of poor customer service; almost half (46 per cent) of consumers have moved to a competitor because of poor customer service.

Top reasons for switching to a competitor include difficulty finding out how to contact customer service (71 per cent), waiting in contact centre queues with no call back option (66 per cent) and dealing with a contact centre agent who has no knowledge of the customer’s previous interactions (66 per cent).

The report reveals that 71 per cent of consumers would consider moving to a competitor if they had to repeat their query to multiple contact centre agents and 32 per cent would go to a different business straight away if the business did not meet their expectations for a response time to a query.

David Ford, managing director of Magnetic North says, 'The customer experience landscape has changed, customers now hold the power and they won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere if brands can’t meet their demands. Businesses will have to adapt to becoming more customer centric in order to stay competitive.

'Negative experiences are resulting in customers abandoning purchases and this is costing UK brands billions each year and with our research revealing that 92 per cent of consumers have had a bad customer experience, no brands can afford to be complacent.'

Further reading on customer experience

See also: Government failing small businesses

Related topics: Customer loyalty

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