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Survey and Research

High Premium Paid for Exceptional Service

In a 2011 Webtutorials survey, 300 respondents connected with a small and mid-size business (SMB) reported that they were prepared to pay up to a 20 per cent premium for exceptional service. Of the respondents, 58 per cent preferred to do business with SMBs, whereas 16 per cent preferred to do business with larger organisations. Eighty per cent of respondents indicated they were leveraging Voice over Internet Protocols (VoIP) to improve contact centre capabilities and reduce operating costs, or they had plans to implement VoIP within the next 12 months. Unified Communications (UC), which integrates voice, email and chat communications, was either being used or soon would be used by 64 per cent of those surveyed. Overall, there was a growing trend towards adopting VoIP and UC to reduce costs and provide specialised skill sets across various locations, thus improving customer service. [7]

Poor Service Quality Leadsto Distrust

In 2011, a Corporate Trust Survey of 600 respondents reported that the following corporate actions led to distrust (see Figure 1, below):

  • CEOs/senior executives being overpaid (77%)
  • corruption among corporate management (71%)
  • companies make up lost earnings at their
  • customers’ expense (69%)
  • more and more products being made overseas (62%)
  • declining product/service quality (56%)
  • unsafe products (47%)
  • poor treatment of workers (43%)
  • lack of stability of “top” companies (41%)
  • database security threats (40%)
  • lack of care for the environment (37%) 
  • lack of government oversight (37%) 
  • stock market volatility (35%)
  • ill-advised services (34%) [8]

Customer Gripes

A 2011 Consumer Reports Survey found that:
  • 65% of respondents were “tremendously annoyed” by rude salespeople
  • 64% had left a store in the previous 12 months because of poor service
  • 71% were extremely irritated when they couldn’t reach a human on the phone
  • 67% hung up the phone without getting their issue resolved.
Respondents had the feeling that companies deliberately hide phone numbers, sidestepping calls and steering customers to online FAQs instead of to live human beings. The following customer gripes were rated on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the most annoying:
  1. Most annoying phone-related customer gripes:
    • can’t get a human on the phone (8.9)
    • many phone steps needed (8.5).
  2. Most annoying in-store customer gripes:
    • rude salesperson (8.7)
    • pushy salesperson (8.2). [9]
Fewer Satisfied Banking Customers

In October 2010, Accenture surveyed 2,500 respondents about customer service received from banks in the United Kingdom. When compared with a 2007 survey, the number of satisfied customers declined from 84% to 73%, while those who would recommend their bank to family and friends fell from 64% to 58%. Respondents aged from 18 to 24 reported that:
  • 50% were more likely than other customers to move to another bank
  • 30% were less likely to complain than older customers
  • 13% had registered a grievance within the past 12 months.
This age group also placed more significance on value for money than their older counterparts, who favoured the promise of speedy and efficient service. On a daily or weekly basis, 69% of respondents reported using Internet banking, 19% used branches, 7% used mobile channels, and 6% used call centres. Three-quarters of customers said that they rarely, if ever, banked by telephone. [10]

Banks’ Customers Value Good Services Most… Not Bank Executives

A 2007 Forester survey about the value of customer service asked customers which attributes were most important when doing business in a bank. The customers, from more than 4,000 North American households, responded (see Figure 2, below):

  • good services (48%)
  • nearby locations (42%)
  • good reputations (33%)
  • low prices (10%)
  • quality products (8%)
  • product variety (3%)
The same survey asked executives from North American banks with $30 billion or more in assets which of the following was the most important component of their organisation’s customer-facing strategies. The executives responded (see Figure 3, below):

  • sell more products to existing customers (40%)
  • improve customer satisfaction (18%)
  • acquire new customers (17%)
  • improve the quality of customer service (15%)
  • other (5%)
  • introduce new of improved products or services (5%)
  • cut the costs of servicing customers (2.5%)
  • increase adoption of on-line channels (2.5%)


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