The £15 billion black hole

Oct 30 2009 by Andy Hanselman Print This Article

Poor customer service is costing UK businesses £15.3 billion a year! That's according to a new report called The Cost of Poor Customer Service: The Economic Impact of the Customer Experience. The survey suggests that nearly three quarters of consumers end a relationship due to poor service.

So what does "poor service" mean in practise?

  • Having to repeat information (that's 'having to repeat information' (sorry, couldn't resist!)
  • Feeling trapped in automated self - service
  • Having to wait too long
  • Interacting with staff who have no knowledge of the service history (or customer value)
  • Unable to easily switch between communication channels

Customers were also asked to identify the factors that make the biggest difference in improving satisfaction levels. The results suggest that satisfaction increases when companies meet four key needs:

  • Competency
  • Convenience
  • Proactive engagement
  • Personalisation

You could argue that there's nothing new there, and that might be true, but if it's costing £15.3 billion a year then it's definitely worth repeating and reinforcing regularly. It might also be worth taking a bit of time out and looking at your own business objectively.

So, why not have a look at these key questions and consider how you measure up? Rate yourself out of 10 against each question and importantly, identify what you need to do about it. Why not get your colleagues to do it too, and get this stuff on the agenda.

  1. How competent are our people?
  2. How well do they know their stuff?
  3. How good are we at demonstrating that to our customers?
  4. How easy are we to buy from and deal with?
  5. How effective are we at proactively engaging with our customers?
  6. How do we encourage engagement with our customers?
  7. How good are we at doing it in a way that works for our customers, not the way that's easiest for us?
  8. How good are we at 'personalising' things for our customers?
  9. How effective are we at making customers 'feel' that it's personalised?
  10. How do we know the real answers to these questions?

The reason I've put these questions together is that a lot of us will read those four factors - Competency, Convenience, Proactive Engagement and Personalisation - and nod in agreement, and say "yes, that all makes sense".

But the challenge is not just about agreeing with those four things, it's not even about simply doing those four things. It's about ensuring that your customers are aware that you're doing them!

And finally, a quick hint: Answer to question 10: Find out what your customers say!

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About The Author

Andy Hanselman
Andy Hanselman

Andy Hanselman helps businesses and their people think in 3D. That means being Dramatically and Demonstrably Different. An expert on business competitiveness, he has spent well over 20 years researching, working with, and learning from, successful fast growth businesses. His latest book, The 7 Characteristics of 3D Businesses, reveals how businesses can get ahead, and stay ahead of their competitors.