Poor customer service could cost UK businesses £1.9bn over holiday period

Saleha Riaz
·2 min read
Half of Brits are avoiding businesses with bad service this Christmas and the average loss from a bad experience is £58 per customer. Photo: Getty Images
Half of Brits are avoiding businesses with bad service this Christmas and the average loss from a bad experience is £58 per customer. Photo: Getty

Brits will be contacting customer service more than usual over the holidays with major financial implications for those who are not able to provide a positive experience — businesses could lose an estimated £1.9bn ($2.56bn).

Business process management company Signavio has warned that as businesses struggle due to the coronavirus pandemic, their ability to provide support has also been hit.

Gero Decker, CEO of Signavio, explained that “frustrations with customer service have intensified during lockdown. The double-whammy of many businesses furloughing staff and more consumers contacting customer service, businesses are straining under the pressure. With a surge in complaints over Christmas, the situation could be at breaking point. Companies could cause irreversible damage to their reputation.

New research by Signavio showed that UK customers are expected to contact customer services 700 million times this Christmas.

UK businesses can expect to receive 189 million phone calls, 193 million emails, 170 tweets, and 160 million letters this Christmas as consumers ask for support.

The study finds that a third (35%) of consumers are predicting they’ll need to use customer service more than usual over the festive break. More than three quarters (78%) of consumers have already needed customer service more during the pandemic and a third (32%) of UK consumers feel it has worsened in this time period.

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Nearly four in five (78%) consumers said they will change their buying intentions based on customer service.

Half (50%) of Brits are avoiding businesses with bad service this Christmas and the average loss from a bad experience is £58 per customer.

This could total an estimated £1.9bn across the holiday period.

The top frustrations consumers complain of are speaking to different people who don't understand the situation, repeating information, slow response times and confusing online processes.

One in five (19%) respondents stopped using a business or service as a result of poor customer service during lockdown. According to the data, the worst culprits are utilities, retail and the public sector organisations.

“Businesses need to look at the common frustrations with their customer service process and address them quickly. For companies that don’t change, consumers will simply protest with their wallets. Customer service is not just a cost for businesses — good processes can win or lose customers,” Decker warned.

Half of consumers are more likely to spend money with a company after a positive customer service experience, the study found.

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