Great front line people are critical to retaining customers - Business Works
BW brief

Great front line people are critical to retaining customers

Jeremy Starling, MD at Involve A survey of 2000 UK consumers by Involve and ICM research has found what today’s make or break customer service moments are for UK businesses.

When consumers were asked what was most likely to make them cancel a subscription to a service, 68% said it was when they experienced a big difference between what they were promised and what they experienced. 55% said it would be when they had a problem and they felt the person in charge doesn’t want to help them.

Most worryingly for UK businesses, 79% of people surveyed have never been persuaded to return to a company or service provider after leaving them. Even financial incentives have little impact when only 8% of people have been won back with a better deal or discount and even less (4%) returned when a company dropped their prices.

The impact customer service representatives can have on a business’ bottom line is made explicitly clear: 65% of people agree that if they like a service, but the people representing the service treat them in a way they don’t like, then they will cancel the service. And even if a service is inconsistent but the people representing the service treat customers well, 48% of people will not automatically stop using the service.

"Businesses should be comforted that most of their customers won’t leave them the first time they experience a problem with a service or product," says Jeremy Starling, Managing Director at Involve. "Instead customers are more affected by the attitude of people in customer service roles. Only 22% would cancel a subscription to a service when a problem happens and they feel the service rep doesn’t have the power to solve the problem.

"It’s essential that companies have great people responding to customers needs, but they have to involve their employees in developing the most effective methods and behaviours for delivering great service. Employees need to do the simple things well – listen, understand and respond in a way that reflects the company’s values."

And for businesses unsure about if they need to communicate with customers through social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, 84% of those surveyed agree that if there was a problem with a service they would much rather speak to a person representing the service over the phone than through a social media channel.

Jeremy adds, "The survey shows most customers will give businesses an opportunity to treat them well and retain them as loyal customers when problems occur. And 84% of them agree they are more likely to recommend a service if the people representing it impress them and treat them like human beings. In this sense company’s customer service employees are critical to retaining customers as well as gaining new ones through recommendations; we all know how powerful it is when a friend recommends a service or product to us."

"To help businesses get their customer service staff in the right frame of mind to keep and win new customers, we have put together top tips for their managers and business leaders:"

  1. Help employees to see their customers as human beings by putting themselves in their shoes.
  2. Encourage employees to bring out their own personalities rather than rely on a checklist or process.
  3. Get them to think about how they feel as a customer themselves in different situations and why.
  4. Involve them in developing ideas for what they can do to deliver great customer service.
  5. Ask employees what the company can do to get out of their way – what processes need fixing.
  6. Show every employee how they each play a key role in helping the business to achieve its customer vision.

For more information, please visit:

Tweet article
BW on TwitterBW RSS feed