UK Customers Have Less Problems, But More Complaints!


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UK customers are experiencing less problems than 5 years ago, but are complaining more! That’s according to a new report from The Institute Of Customer Service. which completely reinforces the research that we’ve compiled!

Since January 2008, the percentage of customers who have experienced a problem when buying goods and services has dropped from 17% to 11.7% in July 2012. However, the number that went on to make a complaint rose from 72% to 76% in the same period!

It’s yet more evidence that customer expectations are getting higher and that customers are getting more ‘vocal’!

The biggest ’causes of complaint’? Surprise, surprise…. it’s the behaviours of staff! 62% of complaints were about staff attitudes and competences compared to 34% for quality or reliability of goods and services.

The report also highlights that although more people are complaining, there are a large number of ‘silent sufferers’ — customers that have reason to complain but choose not to, leaving organisations with little opportunity to resolve their issues.

24% who recently experienced a problem did not make a complaint about it – over half of them (51%) saying that they don’t think it will make any difference! The other key reason was “too much hassle”.

However, they are happy to tell others! 73% of customers who have complained told someone else about their experience, spreading negative word of mouth to an average four people. The most dissatisfied complainers tell even more people — an average of 6! (and that’s before they get on ‘social media’!).

It’s yet more evidence of the need for ’empowered’ staff who are ‘encouraged’ and ‘enabled’ to spot and deal with customer complaints. In 3D Businesses, everyone is in the ‘customer complaints’ department (in the very same way that they are in the ‘marketing’ department too!) – that’s Characteristic #3 Create ‘Delighted’ and ‘Devoted’ Customers.

You may well be reading this saying that it’s obvious stuff, but as ever, it may well be worth ‘standing in your own queues’ and answering these questions:

  • How easy are we to complain to?
  • How capable are our people of ‘spotting’ and ‘dealing with dispappointment’?
  • How good are we at encouraging and supporting them to do so?

Complaints CAN be a good thing – as long as they are dealt with effectively.I would even suggest the best businesses actually get more complaints than others and wrote a blog post saying so last year!

What do you think?

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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