Report: Customers want answers when dealing with problems

Thu, 09/03/2009 - 8:10am
Mike Robuck

Recent research by the Harvard Business Review lends credence to the old adage that companies only get one chance to make a good first impression.

The research said that superior customer service was essential as companies emerge from the recession, but weakened brands, easy access to information about vendors, and the erosion of barriers to switching services between competitors have combined to make a more challenging environment for companies.

Customers care most about two areas when it comes to customer service, according to the research. The first is whether the frontline employee is knowledgeable enough to fix their problems, while the second is they want the problems fixed on the first call.

More than half of the customers the Harvard Business Review surveyed across industries said they have had a bad customer service experience, and almost the same number thought many of the companies they interacted with didn’t care or understand them.

The research also found that 40 percent of the customers who experienced bad customer service stopped doing business with the offending company. For the most part, those alienated customers didn’t come back to the companies that treated them poorly.

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