Customer service satisfaction levels continue to fall


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Raising levels of customer experience and satisfaction are high on the agenda for most organisations, however results from the latest six-monthly UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) have revealed that customer satisfaction levels in the UK have fallen again – a second consecutive decline – indicating that overall, organisations failed to make progress regarding raising the quality of customer service during 2013.

Whilst there are a number of factors which may have affected this result – economic climate, public spending cuts, banking scandals and energy price rises – the UKCSI highlights that in order to prevent longer-term decline, the implementation of a robust customer service strategy needs to be a priority for UK organisations.

Surprisingly, despite bad press and a drop in consumer trust, banks and building societies were the only sector to grow their score, with the biggest drops in customer satisfaction being seen in telecommunications and utilities. Retail (non-food) remains the highest scoring sector overall, with Amazon the highest-scoring organisation.

The UKCSI stress’s the strong link between high satisfaction ratings and increased trust and loyalty towards an organisation – with an improved customer experience having a direct effect on increasing sales and customer recommendations. John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Boots were ranked the top three ‘most trusted’ organisations.

During times of economic hardship, you may expect price to become a priority to the customer at the expense of a good service experience but results from the UKCSI show that this is not the case. Customer service is still ranked highly by customers regardless of how ‘cheap’ the deal is. The majority of consumers (60%) would opt for an even balance of value and service, with 25% willing to pay a premuim for excellent service.

It’s not just ‘customer service’ per se however that’s important to the customer, it’s the speed, efficiency, consistency and availability over multiple channels – increasingly mobile – that can make or break your relationship with a customer.

The latest report from Ofcom highlights the rapid growth in mobile devices in the UK and their increased use by consumers to connect online.

* 92% of people own a mobile phone
* Half of mobile owners use their device to access the internet
* 56% own a smartphone (up from 27% in 2011)
* 29% own a tablet (up from 12% in 2012)
* Number of houses with broadband has increased from 3% to 71% since 2002

With the introduction of 4G and talk of 5G mobile technology on the horizon, speed is literally of the essence. Consumers can now aceess information online faster than ever – increasing their expectations for speedy customer service across these channels as well as more tradtional channels like phone or e-mail.

In order for organisations to improve their customer experience and satisfaction levels, investment in the right customer service technology for the call centre and other customer contact channels is a priority. As technology becomes more mobile and connection faster, so does the consumers expectations for a quick, accurate and consistent, cross-channel experience.

Areas for organisations to consider:


* What channels are your customers using?
* Are they able to receive customer service from you over all of these channels? (Web, mobile, e-mail, social, in-store, contact centre)
* When do customers contact you? Are there any peaks? Can they contact you out of office hours?
* Are you offering self-service options?


* Are your customer service channels ‘joined-up’ or segmented by department?
* Do you have plans to centralise knowledge and deploy across all channels / departments?
* Do contact cenre agents have a knowledge-base of information to improve accuracy, speed of response, consistency?


* How quickly are you able to respond to customer enquiries?
* Does this speed vary across different channels?
* How do you cope with sudden spikes in customer contact?
* Do you have mechanisms in place to quickly route customers to the correct member of staff based on area of enquiry?

Are you listening?

* Do you monitor customer complaints / recommendations to improve service?
* Do you respond to staff feedback on suggested improvements / customers responses.

Other content you may be interested in:

Best Practise Guide to Multi-Channel Customer Service
Key Trends and Solutions for Customer Service in 2014

Neldi Rautenbach
Neldi shares insight and best practice tips on multi-channel customer service from Synthetix. Synthetix is a leading provider of online customer service solutions - working with some of the world's best-known brands. Synthetix create bespoke customer service and knowledge base software that enable customers to self-serve timely, accurate and consistent answers to their questions via the web, mobile, e-mail forms, social networks and in the contact centre.