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Smith & Milton Service Research

Only 29% of 18-24 year olds think that brands listen to complaints


By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

September 1, 2014 | 3 min read

Two thirds of the public (68 per cent) have had poor phone experiences with big brands, with 36 per cent saying this ‘definitely’ makes them consider changing company.

The research of 1,000 consumers across the UK by Smith & Milton focussed on experiences with financial services brands and discovered that the telephone remains a key customer service channel, and a vital customer touchpoint for brands.

When asked if they think financial services brands listen to customer complaints about poor phone experiences, 40 per cent of those surveyed stated no, while an almost equal 39 per cent stated yes.

The difference was more clear cut when examined by age: less than a third (29 per cent) of those aged between 18 and 24 believe that brands pay attention to what they say, while 46 per cent of 55+ year olds said that they do think brands listen.

Ben Mott, client services director at Smith & Milton, said: “Respondents appear to be divided in their opinion of whether financial services brands listen to customer complaints about poor experiences. There is clearly room for improvement here and brands should be wary of not listening to customer complaints or they risk losing customers.

“If these statistics tell us one thing, it’s that there is a huge opportunity here for financial services brands to make more of the phone experience. Traditionally call centres, which this service operates out of, have been the responsibility of the operations manager. It’s time for communications and marketing managers to add ‘phone’ to their list of communications channels along with social media, online and in-store.”

When asked to rank how much a poor phone experience tends to affects their impression of a brand on a scale of one to five – with ‘five’ being a lot and ‘one’ being not at all – 71 per cent of consumers chose four or five, showing that brands still have a long way to go t sort the telephone as a customer service point of contact.

Mott concluded: “When it comes to finding a financial services brand – the company which is ultimately responsible for looking after some of the most expensive and important possessions we own – reassurance and the perception of competence are unsurprisingly vital factors in instilling loyalty. If brands can’t communicate these via telephone, consumers won’t hesitate to switch provider.”

Smith & Milton Service Research

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