Research conducted by Bacs Payments Schemes (Bacs) shows that 48% of those who experience poor customer service are more likely to change provider as a result.
Industry figures show that the mobile sector already suffers from high customer churn rates (around 40%) in comparison to other markets and Bacs’ research shows that mobile operators represent 33% of the top offenders when it comes to customer service.
The research which looked at customer service standards relating to Direct Debit, also showed that, despite having experienced a problem, 21% of people who have had a good customer service experience are likely to use Direct Debits more, and Bacs believes the results illustrate the importance to mobile operators of investment in customer service practices.
Mike Hutchinson, head of marketing at Bacs, said: “Our research illustrates that mobile operators seem to be failing to recognise the integral value that superior customer service can have to a business where Direct Debit payment is concerned. In many cases, customer service has become depersonalised, leaving customers dissatisfied and more inclined to change providers.”
Feedback received during Bacs’ research highlighted that key negative experiences can be categories by customer comments, as follows: Ineffective – customers complained of a receiving “lots of promises but no action”; Poor communications – comments suggested issues associated with language barriers: “they struggled to communicate”; Ineffective – customers indicated a lack of help in resolving issues with comments like: “no help was given when requested”, “no one offered assistance”, “they did nothing well”; Impersonal – a lack of personal attention was highlighted with comments including: “automatically assumed the worst and sent a threatening letter”, “didn’t give the matter the urgent attention it required”; Lack of responsibility – comments showed that customer service representatives not taking ‘ownership’ of issues: “they blamed the bank, the bank blamed them”; Lack of cooperation – customers’ comments pointed to a general sense of non-cooperation and disinterest: “they were dismissive”, “they wouldn’t cooperate”.
Hutchinson added: “Looking at our research, when a customer service team adopts a ‘friendly and efficient’ style combined with an ‘understanding’ approach, it results in a positive customer experience. Great customer service can be achieved through regular training, ensuring front line staff are confident in being able to deal with enquiries, even if they may not directly relate to the core product or service being sold, for example a payment method like Direct Debit.”
To support all Direct Debit service users and their customer service teams, Bacs offers a wide range of staff training that can be used to enhance both basic and advanced knowledge of the product. This type of training can directly influence how quickly customer service team members can assist with any queries or issues, moving them away from the slow response time associated with negative experiences and aligning them with the speed connected to those highlighted as positive.