Kiwi consumers to businesses: “It’s not me, it’s you”

Earlier this week, a customer service survey showed Kiwi consumers are voting with their feet when businesses don’t meet their expectations. And another customer service survey, the KiwiHost/JRA Customer Service Pulse, shows those expectations now involve organisations responding to their concerns much faster than they have in the past.

“Most New Zealanders still expect an organisation to listen to them and understand what their needs are and to show a willingness to help,” says managing director of KiwiHost New Zealand, Jared Brixton, “But for the first time, respondents said they also expect organisations to respond in a timely manner. We have to ask if this is a sign that Kiwis are fed-up with being ‘put on hold’ by the telcos?”

It’s certainly a sign that social media is taking hold in terms of interactions with companies. And it shows that consumers now expect instant feedback (and, when it comes to media, instant information).

Not surprisingly, the survey, now in its third year, found the telecommunications industry and Government agencies rated the lowest across a range of industries. But the banking industry and restaurants, bars and cafes scored more favourably.

“However, even for the industries that scored favourably, only 60 percent of respondents were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the level of service, indicating that there is still significant room for improvement amongst the higher performing industries.”

When asked whether the level of customer service was improving in New Zealand, 41 percent of respondents felt there had been ‘no change’ while 30 percent of respondents felt it was getting worse.

John Robertson, managing director of workplace survey and analysis specialists JRA, says the results of this research back up JRA’s long held belief that customer loyalty is inspired by businesses that ensure their employees are actively engaged in their work.

He says it was concerning the findings indicate a general feeling of dissatisfaction with the level of customer service, especially given other findings of the survey indicate only a very small number of New Zealanders actually raise their complaints directly with an organisation.

“Only six percent of respondents always raise their concerns with an organisation whilst 13 percent never do. The majority of respondents indicated they ‘occasionally’ or ‘hardly ever’ raise their complaints.”

But while they may not be telling the organisation about their concerns, they are telling their friends and family. And the bad news spreads more quickly than the good: most respondents said they tell 4-6 other people about a bad customer service experience they have (compared to only telling 1-3 other people about a good customer service experience).

Not only are they telling their family and friends, but respondents indicated they will only give an organisation one or two chances before they start to look at taking their business elsewhere.

“These results provide a wake-up call for many New Zealand organisations and reinforce the need to have engaged, well-trained frontline staff that are supported by an organisation with customer focused strategies and processes,” Mr Robertson said.

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