Daily Management Review

Survey Warns Firms Customers Seeking More Than Low Prices Due To Rise In Cost Of Living


Survey Warns Firms Customers Seeking More Than Low Prices Due To Rise In Cost Of Living
According to a survey, six in ten customers believe low prices will become more influential when deciding where to shop and what to buy in the next two years. According to the Institute of Customer Service, firms must provide more than just discounts to customers.
According to the organisation, which polled 10,000 people, businesses should provide value and a variety of payment options. A third of those polled were still willing to pay more to ensure decent service.
Customers, according to Jo Causon, do not want "simply inexpensive" products and services, thus firms must be adaptable and clear about what they are offering their customers.
This may include being forthright about products and when they would be available if supplies were limited. Staff needed to recognise the financial stress their customers were under and provide a variety of payment choices, she added.
They should also try offering budgetary guidance or tips on getting the most out of things. Firms should also determine when technology was the greatest answer to an issue and when a human interaction was required.
The institute polled customers as part of a routine examination of customer service, at a time when prices are rising at the quickest rate in 40 years and energy, fuel, and food prices continue to rise.
A dearth of skills and people, supply issues from around the world, and the economic environment were all placing pressure on firms to provide consistent service to clients, according to the institute.
"Organisations cannot avoid these issues. They will need to develop service strategies that are responsive to evolving customer needs but also protect short and long-term business performance," Causon said.
More over 17 per cent of those polled reported a product or service issue, the highest overall figure since records began in 2008. According to the poll, a growing issue was the quality and dependability of goods and services.
The cost of dealing with poor service was added to a company's continuing expenses. The institute projected the total cost in worker hours to be £9.24 billion per month.
Causon stated that while UK businesses have gotten much better at dealing with and resolving complaints, more work is needed to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.
Customers were fed up with companies using Covid as an excuse for long phone lines or late delivery a year ago, but that issue had clearly been surpassed by issues related to the expense of living.
Customer service representatives dealing with increased animosity blamed it on the stress caused by growing living costs.
However, the institute has emphasised that the issues were not all one-sided. Some customers have been violent and abusive to store employees.
According to recent research, 44 per cent of frontline service personnel witnessed client antagonism in the previous six months, up from 35 per cent the previous six months.
A quarter of employees who have experienced increasing hostility say it is due in part to the sharp rise in the cost of living and the stress this has caused on consumers.
The poll comes on the heels of Citizens Advice's damning report on energy companies' customer service performance.
The charity, which uses a star grading system to assess providers, claimed on Friday that standards have "plummeted" to a record low since June 2021, when numerous suppliers went bankrupt due to rising worldwide gas costs.
According to the report, the average wait time on the phone to talk with a company is now nearly six and a half minutes, up from just under four minutes the previous year.
It went on to say that standards could slip even more this winter as prices climb.
This month, the Financial Ombudsman Service - an independent arbitrator of unresolved claims - also advised financial institutions to handle issues more quickly, particularly for victims of fraud and scams.