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He spoke at a recent workshop called “Compete Through Service” hosted by the Center for Services Leadership, which revealed the results of the study and focused on ways in which companies can improve relationships. with their clients.

There’s a lot of work to be done, according to Mary Jo Bitner, co-executive director of the Center for Services Leadership.

“The challenge for companies remains that people who are disappointed with the way their complaints are handled, even if they do not reach the level of rage, are still very unlikely to buy again from the company involved. “she said. “It hurts their business. “

Among the most important results of the survey:

• More things break: 56% of those polled said they had a problem with a product or service purchased last year, up from 32% in the first survey, carried out in 1976.

• Technology is a puzzle: The products and services most frequently cited as problematic, in order, were cable and satellite television, Internet service providers, fixed and cellular telephone services, automobiles, computer equipment, electronics. non-IT consumer goods, restaurants, non-automotive consumer goods, banking and healthcare.

• Consumers don’t get what they want: About 87 percent said they wanted to “be treated with dignity,” while 37 percent said they were. Three-quarters wanted a repair or repair, and only 29% got it. And 60 percent wanted an apology, which was only provided at 31 percent.

• Sorry not sorry: When consumers were offered a cash solution, 41% said they were happy. When the company added an apology – which cost nothing – to the cash solution, satisfaction soared to 73%.

So how do people express their rage? Surprisingly, only about a third complain about this online. Among internet critics, the most common place to complain was Facebook. Only around 9% of those surveyed said they had commented on a review website, such as Yelp.

But Grainer said social media complaints average 825 people.

“A lot of it is negative word of mouth. Research shows positive word-of-mouth is nice, but it doesn’t move the needle much, ”he said.

“But negative word of mouth will kill you. “

One of the workshop presenters was Co-Operators, a large Canadian insurance and financial services company that embarked on a large-scale project to improve customer service in 2004. The company ran an intensive re-branding campaign that touted its service-oriented image. , as well as employee retraining and the installation of new computer systems.

It did not work. A subsequent consumer satisfaction survey found the company to be average and identified 11 “pain points” for customers.

“It was a bit of a crush,” said Rick McCombie, executive vice president of the company.

An example: after customers called with a complaint about a house or a car, over 60% of them immediately called back and asked, “What’s next? “

“We thought that with our claims, people had to do a terrible job on the phone. So I listened to the calls, and the calls were great. The point is, these people just had a car accident or saw their house broken into and they were traumatized, ”McCombie said.

“So a simple change was to send an email right after the call with all the information, and the reminders were down by 70%. “

Bitner said companies need to do the hard work in this area.

“Companies that really understand and know how important complaint handling is will do a lot of in-depth research to determine what to do,” she said.

Learn more about the Center for Services Leadership here.

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