UK businesses lose £12 billion a year through poor customer experience


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New research from cloud contact centre vendor NewVoiceMedia reveals that UK companies deemed to have poor customer service are losing approximately £12 billion a year.

According to the survey, half of UK consumers are taking their business elsewhere as a result of inadequate service – and of those, 92 percent have switched at least once or twice in the last year. 49 percent are put off from calling a business at all, for fear of being kept on hold or in a queue. This means many customers could switch to a competitor without even attempting to resolve the problem first.

With respondents spending an average of £472 before switching, it is estimated that £12 billion is lost by UK businesses every year through poor service. Faced with a negative experience, 56 percent of those surveyed would never use that company again, 27 percent would tell friends and peers, and 19 percent would take their revenge online by posting a review.

“Customers have a stronger influence on a business’s success than ever before and it’s surprising how many organisations still aren’t getting it right” said Jonathan Gale, CEO, NewVoiceMedia. “Customer experience is a key differentiator. By doing it well, organisations can drive the customer acquisition, retention and efficiency that make leading companies successful”.

Complaints can’t be kept quiet in the digital age
Any organisation that thinks it can keep a complaint quiet in the digital age is unrealistic – 19 percent of respondents would post an online review and 14 percent would complain via social media if they are not happy with the service they are receiving.

Younger generation more patient than older generation
Surprisingly, it’s the younger generation that are more willing to tolerate long hold times, perhaps due to a greater capacity for multi-tasking. Only 49 percent of 16 – 24 year olds are prepared to wait 5 – 10 minutes before hanging up compared to 67 percent of those aged 55+. 30 percent would wait 11 – 20 minutes whereas only 9 percent of those aged 55+ would wait 11 – 20 minutes. 22 percent of those aged 55+ hang up within 5 minutes compared to 8 percent of 16 – 24 year olds.

UK customers are willing to be loyal – if businesses get it right
Organisations can potentially increase their business if they offer excellent customer service. Following a positive customer experience, 74 percent of respondents would be more loyal, 71 percent would recommend a company to others and nearly half (44 percent) would use the business more frequently. 34 percent are prepared to spend more money with the company.

Voice is still the channel of choice for a quick response. 66 percent of respondents prefer to get on the phone and speak to someone to get an issue resolved quickly and 23% would address an issue via email. While 89 percent of those surveyed prefer traditional forms of communication such as phone and email, it was evident that a higher proportion of Generation Y are making contact with businesses through social media or text messages.

“This research highlights the cumulative effect of business interactions on the customer experience,” concludes Gale. “Customers want personal and engaging experiences every time, through every channel; from the steps they take to interact with a company to the agents they deal with. Organisations can’t continue to let business slip away. Listening to the needs of their customers is the first step. The second is actively doing something about it”.

For further information about NewVoiceMedia, please visit

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