The 2018 Consumer Action Monitor Report (CAM) from Ombudsman Services highlights a growing trend in consumers; Passive Consumer Action . The Report shows that despite the trend for businesses to flirt with the concept of Customer Experience (CX), consumers are increasing disillusioned and frustrated with the thought of even attempting to engage their Customer Services and Complaints Teams.
Last year in the UK alone there were a total of 173 million issues with products and services, but only 27% of these were actively raised with providers, down 14% from the previous year. At first glance, fewer complaints could be seen as a positive for businesses; it could be seen as consumers being either basically satisfied with their services, or at least grudgingly accepting their services even when they feel that these services fall short of their expectations. It’s somewhat of a stereotype that we simply don’t like to make a fuss. Confrontation is something that most people will try to avoid, particularly if that confrontation is likely to be futile and simply not worth the effort. The truth however is that in most cases consumers have a choice of suppliers. In these cases, we will often simply walk away.
“Two in five (40%) [consumers] ‘walked out’ before completing a purchase as a result of poor service, up from 29 per cent in last year’s report, while three in 10 (30%) chose to switch providers or spend less because of disappointing experiences.”
If we consider this, last year over a quarter of existing customers who had issues with products/services walked away from providers without giving them the opportunity to address their issues. That’s 27% of 173 million consumers. 46.7 million last year alone. And this ignores potential customers or prospects – these are actual customers. The ones we all want to retain. And they don’t just walk away, as one-in-five will also complain to their family and friends about their poor experience. These disillusioned consumers can have significant influence over others.
So, as stakeholders how can we manage this?
The ideal solution would be to ensure that no customer has a poor experience with your product or service; something that all businesses would hopefully aspire to! However, say that this is a target which we occasionally fall short of. What then?
We would hope that the customer raises an issue at the first opportunity, and that our customer-facing teams can successfully solve the problem, but how likely is it that even if the customer raises, they raise it with someone who has the authority to rectify it? “Computer says no ” became a catch-phrase because we’ve all heard this and phrases like it when dealing with customer-facing staff members who are simply following company policy and procedures. Simply doing their job.
In an economy where customers have multiple alternatives, they must be able to have their complaints not only heard, but heard by the right person, and before the issue becomes one which causes them to walk away from your business.
“With disillusionment giving way to a new type of consumer activism, businesses need to shift their thinking when it comes to customer experience and complaint handling.”
The answer is clear; we need to fill the CX Gap. Our Customer Experience Strategies need to not only focus on measuring CX, but both managing and leveraging CX.
Our next three Blogs will focus on core issues that this Report exposes:
1) The CX Gap; are you managing CX or simply measuring it?
2) Closing the CX Gap; the power of Actionable Customer Insight
3) Great Expectations; how a perception of poor Customer Experience can impact your Brand Value.
Staffino provides real-time, unbiased insight into the hearts and minds of your customers, though a unique approach which lets you engage with them directly about the issues they care about most.
Used by 70 organisations in over 2,000 locations, Staffino is a comprehensive, cloud-based Customer Insight platform, both easy to use and quick to set up. It provides usable, targeted data on how your customers feel about your organisation, by making it easier for them to tell you, and easier for you to understand.
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