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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

Consumers Let Their Feet Do the Talking When Customer Service Lags

If you want to clear your store floor of customers, there's no better strategy than providing poor customer service, a new survey shows. And that strategy works just as well over the telephone.

With increasing frequency, customers are bailing out on merchants and service providers in response to poor service, a new survey from Consumer Reports indicates Sixty-four percent of the respondents said that over the past 12 months they had physically left a store because of poor customer service.

And two-thirds of the people surveyed said they had hung up during a customer service call without having had their problem addressed.

Consumer Reports surveyed almost 1,000 consumers from coast to coast to find the customer-service problems that people find most irritating. Two of the top 10  problems were not being able to get help in person, and not being able to connect with a human on the phone.

Also singled out for consumer ire were customer-service rudeness, being forced to navigate phone-tree hell, and interminable waits on hold.

"There's a feeling on the part of Americans that companies are deliberately making it difficult for them by burying phone numbers, sidestepping calls and steering customers to online FAQs instead of live human beings," Tod Marks, a senior project editor for Consumer Reports, said in a statement.

The survey, which appears in the July issue of Consumer Reports, also named the good, bad and ugly of customer service. Walmart and its member-discount doppelganger, Sam's Club, led the list of service sinners.

Apple once again fell on the side of the angels, winning praise for its retail service.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.



Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.