Companies Lose Out As Customers Can’t Get Through First Time

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Companies losing out on vital new business as one in three of those struggling to get through are new customers.

When they last called a company, just 22% of people said their call was answered the first time they rang, meaning a significant number of customers could be slipping through the net. That’s according to research released today by 8×8.

More than a third (35%) of those who couldn’t get through to anyone first time were new customers looking for information on products, trying to open an account or make a purchase. This means businesses are missing a large number of inbound enquiries from potential customers who have taken the trouble to call them directly.

Even when customers do manage to get through to someone, businesses are still at risk of losing them to a competitor while they’re on the phone. One in eight (12%) say they have started searching for competitors online during a call, rising to more than a quarter (26%) of young people aged 25-34, who seem to have a much lower tolerance of bad service. More than a tenth of Brits (11%) have even posted live on social media to name and shame a company during a poorly handled call, rising to 26% of those aged 25-34. The vast majority (91%) of Brits say they have had a poor experience on the phone.

Utility companies, telecoms and government firms should be most concerned by the findings as customers rated them worst for service on the phone. At the other end of the spectrum, property, travel and tourism and media companies were rated the best.

Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK MD of 8×8 commented, “A business only has one chance to make a great first impression and getting off on the wrong foot can destroy the customer relationship for good. That starts by making sure new customer calls are answered first time. With the right technology in place, it can be easy for businesses to make sure calls are routed to a manned phone and appropriately-skilled agent so new customers are never left to competitors.”

After a call, customers won’t suffer in silence either and are more likely to shout about poor service than a great experience. Nearly three quarters (72%) say they feel a personal responsibility to warn friends and family against a company that provides bad service, whilst only 53% have shared a positive experience and just 17% have posted positive reviews on social media.