Now that consumers might finally be venturing back into stores or onto retail shopping sites, the last thing marketers want to do is turn them off.  Providing lousy customer service is one way to make sure a shopper gives negative feedback on a website or never returns to the same store. Based on the results of the latest findings by Empathica, more marketers should improve and then promote their customer service as a competitive edge.

According to Empathica, over half (55.2%)  of U.S. consumers complain that customer service is getting worse. Dr. Gary Edwards, EVP of Client Services at Empathica, says “[a]long with economic uncertainty, we’re finding consumers have become more impatient to receive the service they desire when they visit retail, restaurant and financial establishments today.”

Here’s a list by age of consumers who say customer service is getting worse. (Numbers in parentheses show the percentage increase in consumers who agree customer service is a growing problem since the previous quarter):

  • 18-24 45.7% (+3.2%)
  • 25-34 60.4% (+2.0%)
  • 35-44 68.1% (+4.1%)
  • 45-54 68.7% (+9.8%)
  • 55-64% 65.3% (+12.7%)
  • 65+ 57.2% (+10.2%)

While there is some correlation between noticing poor customer service and a person’s age, the problem peaks during the 45-54  year-old age group. This higher rate may be connected to consumers who are extremely busy with families and careers during these years and who lack time to deal with problems when they are buying a product or service.

In any case, Empathica analysts recommend that marketers focus on the problem by providing better training and by monitoring and managing details. Once they have a good handle on customer service, companies can market this feature as a way to win business away from the competition.
[Source: Compared to First Quarter, Americans Feel Customer Service is Getting Even Worse. Empathica.com. 9 Sept. 2010. Web. 25 Oct. 2010]