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UK consumers ‘less tolerant’ than US counterparts

Feb 27
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UK consumers ‘less tolerant’ than US counterparts

Consumers in the UK are far less tolerant to bad customer service compared to those in the US, according to new research.

The study, undertaken by NewVoiceMedia, also revealed that shoppers in Britain spend more before switching to a competitor and UK businesses are losing twice as much money as US companies every year.

Around $41 billion (£24 billion) of revenue is moved between American businesses every year, compared to £12 billion in Britain - due to consumers experiencing poor customer service. These figures do not take into consideration the cost of replacing lost customers and the negative impact of word of mouth.

In the UK, on average, 48 per cent of consumers decide to take their business elsewhere because they are dissatisfied with the service they have received from a provider.

It is more common for a British consumer to switch after experiencing substandard customer service compared to those in the US. But in both countries, the main reason cited for leaving was not feeling appreciated as a customer.

The number one irritant for UK customers is being kept on hold, but they are in fact prepared to be kept waiting longer than their US counterparts. Only 16 per cent of Brits said they would hang up after five minutes compared to 22 per cent of Americans. Results suggest that, in both nations, women proved to be more patient than men.

While British consumers are more likely to switch, they’re also more likely to give the business an opportunity to resolve the issue by writing to complain. In the US, consumers are far less forgiving, with half more than willing to spread the word about their bad experience compared to 27 per cent of UK customers. 

NewVoiceMedia believes the emphasis consumers place on good customer service presents companies with opportunities to boost their business if they heed complaints and make changes accordingly.

Jonathan Gale, chief executive officer at NewVoiceMedia, said: “With so much revenue being transferred between companies, this research reinforces just how much influence customers have on a business’s success. 

“Great customer service is the critical differentiator and investing in providing personalised and engaging customer experiences every time, through every channel, will help businesses succeed in retaining customers and securing new business”.

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