British businesses are due a customer-led overhaul according to an industry expert following results of a study that reveal eight in ten Brits are frequently enraged by poor customer service.
Daniel Attia, CEO of fixed-fee estate agency YOPA, has warned that an increasing amount of people are switching companies due to poor customer service and that only the businesses that choose to go the extra mile to create a good customer experience will reap the benefits.
A quarter of adults believe the UK’s general levels of customer help are under-par – with telecoms, energy companies, banks and building societies coming under fire for providing the very worst service of all. Pushy sales tactics are the biggest bugbear of all – with 56 per cent of people finding aggressive and obnoxious marketing techniques an insult when they just want to have a decent bit of customer service.
Researchers found millions of us see red when we telephone through to a service line only to be met with someone who can barely speak English. Getting through to India when you want to talk to someone in the UK and having robotic responses to questions can irritate the most patient of people.
And having to spend lots of time working through pre-select options on the keypad, or finding it impossible to get through to the right department, lead to many slamming down the phone in frustration. Standardised replies also cause anger amongst many adults, who find it difficult managing their temper when staff are unable to deviate from the rules and regulations of the company.
Daniel Attia, CEO of YOPA, which commissioned the study of 2,000 adults, said: “Customer service is something most of us have to deal with on a daily basis, so it’s worrying to see that so many people have had a bad experience.
“It’s clear from these findings that there is a distinct lack of communication between services and consumers. It’s bewildering to me, that in an age where the internet and technology is breaking down barriers, that so many customers are being fobbed off by call centres and automated telephone lines. The poor-performing industries identified in this study are ripe for disruption.
“The customer should be at the heart of the sales process, empowered by technology. All most people want from a customer service department is a prompt and stress-free solution, no hidden fees and politeness – which shouldn’t be too much to ask.”
Many of those polled have chosen to change companies after finding they were being over-charged simply for being an existing customer. When it comes to going in-branch for help and advice, customers take great insult when sales assistants chat to one another and ignore the person in front of them.
A fifth of people can’t stand it when staff don’t acknowledge waiting customers, especially if the person being served is taking a long time. Similarly, having to stand in a queue for hours, annoyingly slow customer service, and being made to feel like a nuisance even if you have a valid query also cause irritation.
Attia added: “As we’ve seen with the energy and telecomms sectors, bad customer service can completely destroy the public’s trust in an industry, especially when those companies aren’t held to account.
“My industry, estate agency, comes sixth on the list of the worst industries for customer service. This isn’t surprising, when according to research from the National Association of Estate Agents, sixty per cent of home buyers and sellers claimed to have faced problems with their estate agents.
“At YOPA, our local estate agents are motivated first and foremost by five star customer reviews on a third party website – Trustpilot. Because of this, we know that our customers will always get the highest possible level of service, and our agents know that they can be publicly held to account. That’s what the TripAdvisor generation have come to expect.”