Poor Customer Service Means Customers Leave Very Quickly, Report Finds.

In Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Featured on App, Loyalty & CRM by Vaughn Highfield4 Comments

Customer Service

According to a report from Accenture, the vast majority of people say that companies could have done more to keep them as customers.

Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said that their loyalty could have been retained if the company they were interacting with had acted faster on their problem or query. Of those, 69 per cent would have stayed if their problem was solved the first time they contacted the company – and not after multiple times. Fifty-five per cent said they would be inclined to stay if they were given preferential treatment for having remained loyal to the business or doing more business with them.

The same report also showed that a reasonable proportion (48 per cent) of UK consumers had switched providers because of poor customer service.

This shows, more than ever, that implementing an effective and influential customer service is key to retaining custom.

Retail is the worst sector for fickle customers with 20 per cent of people switching. Twelve per cent of people change banks, Internet service providers and utility companies. Landline phone providers have been hit with a 9 per cent rate, cable and satellite TV services lumped with 7 per cent and mobile phone networks at 5 per cent.

"There's an incredible churn taking place at the moment," said Accenture UK & Ireland's managing director for CRM Rachel Barton. "The fact is that companies could have retained 85 per cent of consumers who switched just by getting some of the basics right.

"Companies are still not getting this right. The frustration points that consumers are citing are not that different from those they were talking about two or three years ago."

So, how do you go about saving yourself from being axed by a dissatisfied customer?

Well, 80 per cent said that skilled and polite customer service staff are most important, followed by a fast resolution of problems and delivering upon the brand promise.

This means make sure that your marketing teams are working with your customer facing query teams to ensure that the brand promise is always being lived up to.

It's also interesting to see that 34 per cent said that ease of doing business is what they like about doing business with a company, followed by high-quality products with 28 per cent of respondents. Competitive pricing comes fourth with 28 per cent, and 27 per cent want trustworthiness from whatever business they interact with.

The marketplace is flooded with alternatives, and you don't want to give your customers an excuse for leaving you early. Seventy-four per cent of those surveyed said that they are always evaluating who they do business with, with many people also feeling that they could get a better deal elsewhere.

While social media may not have as big an impact as you'd imagine, the UK has the biggest percentage of people telling their friends and others about poor experiences. Seventy-eight per cent say that they have told someone in person about a bad experience, with 20 per cent having posted the experience online for all to see.

Compare this to Ireland, where 92 per cent complain in person, or to Japan, where only 50 per cent complain, and you can see that the UK is not the market to upset.

You can read the full report here

Are you surprised by these abandonment rates?

Would you expect more customers to be pleased with the service they're given?

Let us know by leaving a comment below with your thoughts.


At this year's Europe's Customer Festival the topic of retaining customer loyalty will be on the cards and you'll be able to learn from the best and brightest in the industry all the tips and tricks you need to e ensure you deliver the best to your customers.


  1. Jennifer Grainger

    Customer Service is key not just in our personal shopping habits but in b2b too, the pressure on the cost of living across the board has increased the focus on sell more as opposed to retention…as such I am not surprised by this news. I find it surprising that I can buy a service from my bank which is a product underwritten by another company – yet when I inform my bank of a change of address that information is not shared with the underwriter. Customer service is front loaded in obtaining our money but not retaining loyalty with good service and it just silly – they’d save so much more than they’d spend in trying to keep flat if they put just a little grey matter into the equation.

    1. Author

      I completely agree Jennifer! It’s not just an outward consumer issue, it effects corporate customers too and the barriers to ensuring a top-notch customer experience should always be easy to navigate through (or ideally non existent.

      Far too many services and providers just mess around with customers, leaving them on hold for ages, cutting them off, and not dealing with their issues when they can be quickly resolved problems. There needs to be a communication between each department or involved company to ensure everything happens and changes seamlessly. The worst issues seem to plague customer service teams in areas where they outsource the work (i.e. a call centre belonging to a telecoms provider then outsources the engineering work to another company, which then outsources its financing department so at each stage things become lost in translation).

      The statistics are a little eye-opening though. It seems like it may not take much for a lot of people to suddenly up and leave a company.

  2. Simon Kent

    We are all becoming less tolerant of poor service and use the internet to find alternative suppliers and compare prices and products. The amount of time we are prepared to wait for anything is now tiny compared to a few years ago.
    Everyone wants the best product or service for the best price delivered now. If you can’t supply it then you can be sure that someone else will.
    Retaining customers is always more cost effective than acquiring new ones, so companies should be spending their marketing budgets on making sure they deliver on the brand promise and rewarding customers for their repeat business and loyalty.

    I think we will see abandonment rates rise over the coming years with high street banks seeing a large increase in movers as it becomes easier to switch.

    1. Author

      I think you’re right there, as customers can see more clearly how good or bad another providers offering is, they’ll make a move over to somewhere else. Some companies I’ve been with in the past make the mistake of rewarding new customers to entice them in, while leaving out existing ones who have remained loyal to them – usually ending up paying more than newer customers are too.

      The providers I’ve stuck with for years are companies who reward their customers continually, it’s hard to leave when the rewards keep flowing in and they offer a genuinely helpful customer service experience.

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