Consumers frustrated with repeating themselves during customer service

Having to repeat themselves, whether in-store, online or over the phone, is the worst customer service bugbear for UK consumers, research finds.

Some 75 per cent of UK consumers hate repeating themselves when they have an issue with a brand, according to a recent survey conducted by UBM.

The second biggest bugbear, cited by 73 per cent of respondents, is when there is no joined-up service experience and a situation arises where the brand’s call centre blames the shop, the shop blames the internet, and so on.

With regards to automation being used in customer service, consumers are relatively split on their opinions of it, with 37 per cent saying they don’t like automation, saying it is inefficient or frustrating, while 32 per cent are in favour, feeling that it makes the process quicker.

When it comes to self-checkouts and voice recognition 44 per cent like to use self-checkouts because it simplifies shopping and saves them time even though 45 per cent of respondents believe automation will result in increased rates of unemployment.

The research, which surveyed consumers from across the UK, also shows how technology is changing the way in which consumers react to online marketing/promotional material.

Though UK consumers are hesitant to allow brands to access their data online for product recommendation and promotions, many shoppers are enthusiastic about receiving marketing offers from brands.

When asked what sort of offer would entice them to make a purchase, 80 per cent of respondents mention receiving discount codes. This is followed by free delivery (73 per cent) and early access to sales and special promotions (25 per cent), respectively. Some 17 per cent agree they are happy to receive personalised offers on goods.

When asked about which sort of promotions they would feel most frustrated by, a majority (62 per cent) select promotions for products no longer in stock as the worst bugbear. More than half (52 per cent) of respondents feel annoyed by brands recommending goods that are not relevant to them.

Another common frustration for consumers when shopping online is having to pay for delivery or to return unwanted products, which 30 per cent of respondents list as their top frustration, while a further 21 per cent say that delivery costs only being confirmed upon checkout is their top concern.

While shopping in-store, a majority of consumers (74 per cent) still prefer to use in-store technology, though there is also a growing demographic (26%) who would prefer to use their own devices, such as smartphones, to find information and make purchases through either in-store Wi-Fi or mobile data.

Rebecca Slater, brand manager for UBM says, ‘The lessons to be learned from this survey are that there’s no one-size fits all solution; brands need to be in tune with who their customers are in order to deliver the right solution to that demographic.’

Further reading on customer service

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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