A survey conducted by customer evaluation company, Retail Eyes, has demonstrated exactly what UK consumers look for in good customer service.
Contrary to the popular conception that shoppers only want to pay the lowest price for goods and services, it was discovered that 82 per cent of consumers surveyed would be willing to pay more for a product if it meant they received better customer service.
In terms of what they see as good service, only 6 per cent of respondents like to be approached by an assistant in a shop, whereas 61 per cent like to be given eye contact and a smile, and the remaining 33 per cent wish to be left alone unless they approach an assistant directly.
Some 92 per cent stated that shopfloor workers physical appearance affects their overall impression of the service they receive. Additionally, when enquiring about a product, 87 per cent want to be taken to the product rather than pointed in its general direction.
The most important attribute of customer service according to 48.6 per cent of those surveyed is listening and understanding what the customer is looking for.
Some 27.8 per cent of respondents said making sure the customer leaves feeling valued was most important, 17.2 per cent thought it was a friendly approach, and 5.5 per cent chose product knowledge. Only 0.1 per cent of respondents stated that making sure the customer leaves with a product is the most important customer service attribute.
Just under half (46.8 per cent) of respondents said the most frustrating thing about customer service staff is when they are disinterested in serving the customer. Some 20.1 per cent were frustrated by pushy staff, and 11.1 per cent frustrated when staff have a lack of product knowledge.
The top response for how service can be improved is more training for staff at 40 per cent, followed closely at 38 per cent by customer facing staff simply making a genuine attempt to help the customer, even if in the end they are unable to help. Only 15 per cent thought there needed to be more management presence and just 7 per cent thought there should be more staff.
Finally, unsurprisingly 84 per cent of respondents stated that they receive the best customer service in brick and mortar stores, however three times as many respondents stated that they receive better service on the internet than over the phone, at 12 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.
The Retail Eyes survey was conducted 2-6 October 2006 during National Customer Service Week, and surveyed 4,612 UK residents aged 16 to 80.
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