Poor Customer Service? UK Customers Quit Quicker, US Customers Shout More!


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UK USUK customers are more likely to quit a supplier because of poor customer service than Americans, but the Americans are more likely to tell others about their bad experience!

That’s according to a recent report from NewVoiceMedia that reveals that UK consumers are less tolerant of poor customer service! The result is that UK companies are losing twice the amount of business compared to American businesses!

That’s because UK customers typically spend more than their US counterparts with one particular supplier. The total, they estimate that is lost by UK companies because of poor customer experiences is nearly £12 Billion worth of business!

The report also highlighted that…

  • 50% of UK consumers are more likely to switch following a bad experience compared with 44% of those from the US!
  • Although in the UK, 49% say that being kept on hold is the biggest irritation, we are prepared to hold for longer than our US counterparts, with only 16% of us saying we’d hang up after five minutes compared with 22% of Americans.
  • While UK consumers are more prone to switching, we’re also the most likely to offer the business an opportunity to ‘deal with disappointment’ because 58% would write to complain compared to 37% in the US.
  • US consumers are much more vocal with 50% eager to spread the bad word telling friends and colleagues not to use the company compared with only 27% of us here in the UK .
  • In both regions, women are more patient than men when it comes to waiting, but both in the US and in the UK, they are more likely to complain than men!

On a positive note, on both sides of the Atlantic…

  • 72 % of respondents said that good service had a considerable influence on their loyalty and…
  • 70 % would recommend the company to others.
  • US customers are more likely to spend more money with the business as a result (42% vs 34% UK).
  • Overall, good service influences women more than men, with women more likely to recommend the business to others.

So what does it all mean? Well, it’s clear that the impact of creating ‘Disappointed’ customers, regardless of which side of the water you’re on, is costly!

Our research shows that 3D businesses ’Deal With Disappointment’! How do they do it? Well, here are 5 steps to consider when ‘Dealing With Disappointment’ in your business…

1. Acknowledge It!

A business that acknowledges that it got things wrong, particularly if it is ’out of character’, and deals with it effectively, can often turn ‘Disappointment’ into ‘Delight’. In other words, just because things go wrong, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost that customer. Acknowledging the problem can demonstrate that you actually care, and many will respond positively. In fact a real measure of the strength of your customer relationships is the size of ‘cock up’ you can make and still keep the business. (By the way, please don’t take this as the key learning lesson from this blog and test it to its limits!).

2. Empower For It!

As a result, the best businesses ‘empower’ their people to ‘Deal with Disappointment.  I’m often sceptical about the word ‘empowerment’ because it’s so over used, but in those businesses that do it properly, things get done when things go wrong.

A simple test to see how ‘empowered’ your people really are is ’How much can your people spend or authorise to solve a customer’s problem without having to come to senior management for ‘permission’? For example, Timpson’s allow £500 and Ritz Carlton Hotels give everyone in their business authority to spend up to $2000 to resolve a customer’s problem or deal with a complaint on the spot without having to get permission from a manager. Now, THAT’s empowerment!

3. Prepare For It!

What are the things that typically create your Disappointed customers? Why not get your people together and identify typical or regular problems, and then develop ideas and solutions to sort it out. Train them, put processes and systems to deal with disappointment.

4. Look For It!

Instead of just ‘Dealing with Disappointment’, 3D businesses  look for it. They don’t wait for complaints, they go out and find them! In fact, 3D businesses probably get more complaints than others because their people are actively asking for them!

It might seem weird, but the easier you are to complain to, the more customer focussed you’re likely to be!

5. Just Deal With It!

So go on, you know it makes sense. Disappointment? Learn to look for it and deal with it regardless of which side of the Atlantic you are!

‘Disappointed’ Customers are just one of the 10 D‘s Of Different Customers – a Dramatically Different way of helping you focus and maximise your sales, marketing and customer relationship management efforts and resources. For a free 20 page e-book that outlines what it means for your business, simply click here.  

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Andy Hanselman
Hi there! I help businesses and their people create competitive advantage by 'Thinking in 3D'! That means being 'Dramatically and Demonstrably Different'! I research, speak about, write about and work with businesses to help them maximise their sales and marketing, their customer service and their customer relationships.


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