Customer service is getting worse, according to the latest figures provided by The Institute of Customer Service (ICS). In figures released today, the ICS Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) has shown an decline for the fourth consecutive year. And by a significant amount too. 14.3% of consumers said that they experienced a problem with customer service. This represents a rise of 1.5% since last year’s figures.
The number of organisations failing to keep their promises or commitments alone has trebled in the last two years. At 17.2% this is the highest level ever.
The UKCSI is based on extensive in-depth research. Published twice a year, the latest figures includes 43,500 survey responses covering 240 brands across 13 sectors. Responses have been gathered from more than 10,000 consumers, answering an online questionnaire.
It will come as no surprise to consumers that the number who experience issues is at its highest recorded level ever.
One of the biggest bugbears with complaint handling cited by consumers, was companies that don’t keep their promises. Certainly I hear this a lot, along with being pushed from pillar to post, repeating oneself and not being able to complain using the format desired.
Natalie Berg, Retail Analyst and Founder of NBK Retail, agrees. She says:
“You need to be on top of your game. You need to save customers’ time or enhance it. But enhancing time goes beyond a few instore gyms or beauty bars, retailers need to give shoppers a very compelling reason to ditch their screens and come into the store.” Companies that are not keeping their promises are not saving customers’ time!
First Direct continues to hold its first place for customer service in the latest UKCSI. The top 10 organisations in the July 2019 UKCSI are:
1. first direct (which scored 86% satisfaction and is number 1 for emotional connection and customer ethos and ethics.)
2. Debenhams despite the problems. Interestingly I wrote about Debenhams and whether customer service could have prevented Debenhams decline.
4. John Lewis
The Institute’s research evaluates companies based primarily on customer experience (such as getting things right first time) and customer ethos. In their view positive emotional connection and ethics can create a higher overall level of customer satisfaction.
Clearly businesses need to do more to improve their customer service and complaint handling if they want to survive. If they want to thrive they will need to do a lot more to respect customers and put matters right for them quickly and effectively. Every company makes mistakes, it is how they deal with them that matters.
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