The Unforgiving Brits: Unhappy Consumers in the UK Punish Poor Service More Than US Consumers

brits-300According to new research from New Voice Media, UK consumers are more likely than US consumers to drop an organization due to poor service. By defining that over $20 Billion in revenue is transferred due to bad service from firm to firm in the UK, this study reveals that minding the customer experience is more critical than ever…particularly if you are in business in the UK.

Some more interesting facts the study revealed include:

  • British consumers spend more with each firm, so the loss of their business is much bigger for the UK companies
  • $41 Billion is transferred to another supplier when US consumers drop their current provider of goods or services
  • US consumers are twice as likely to spread negative stories about poor service they received
  • At the call center, the British will stay on hold longer than people in the US; women in both countries are more patient on hold then men.
  • British are more likely to complain about the service they receive, in an effort to let the company resolve the issue, while Americans were more likely to just complain about them on social media
  • In both cases, women in the UK and US were more likely to complain then men!

Customer experience is emerging as an opportunity for businesses all over the globe. Based on the $61 Billion worth of business at stake that customers in the US and UK take with them when they move their business to another company, it’s a pretty big opportunity to be sure.

Over the past ten years, we have seen a movement away from the traditional business differentiators like price, quality and delivery to a new type of business distinction, the customer experience. What you see here is that Brits and Americans alike can find what they need from another supplier that has about the same price, quality and delivery method. If they don’t like their customer experience at one company then they simply find another one where they do, and then they spend their $61Billion (collectively) with that supplier instead.

But they will stay if they are appreciated, treated well, and have a good experience. This is because price, quality and delivery are no longer differentiators at all. They have become the initial standards, or the tickets for entry into the market instead of the competitive advantages they once were.

Minding the customer experience is more than telling them to have a nice day or picking up the phone at the call center before 5 minutes is up. It’s about emotionally engaging your customers and managing their experience to your desired emotional outcome. This is all part of the emotional signature that your business is striving for with their experience. In particular, you are trying to evoke the two best emotions for driving value for your organization: Happy and Pleased.

Emotions are the key differentiator for organizations today. People crave happiness so your job is to find little ways add some happiness into their day when they are interacting with your organization. These happy moments need to be designed into your customer experience so that it pleases your customers and keeps them coming back…with their $61 Billion in revenue.

Both in the UK and the US it is true that customers will remain loyal and recommend you to their friends if you do a good job with your customer experience. It’s clear that while bad service has serious repercussions for your bottom line, good service is the great redeemer.

With that in mind, here are 7 suggestions that you can do to design a customer experience that creates these happy moments:

  1. Be friendly to the customer
  2. Build a relationship with the customer
  3. Understand the holistic picture of the customer, and by that we mean what are they working to achieve or pursuing from this experience
  4. Be aware of your customer’s physical and emotional expectations and plan to exceed them
  5. Consistently evoke the Attention and Recommendation Clusters of emotions, which include: Interesting, Energetic, Exploratory, Indulgent, Stimulated, Trusting, Valued, Cared for, Focused and Safe.
  6. Look for something you can add that is outside the norm
  7. Plan and Execute a deliberate and consistent customer experience

One thing that is true no matter which side of the Atlantic you are on is that consumers do not like to feel unappreciated. When they feel disappointed or neglected, they will find another supplier. Apparently the difference is that Americans will slip out through the side door, posting a stinging review of your services on their social media as they go, while Brits give you a chance to fix it before they will keep calm and carry on…to the next shop.

The study said that only 16% of Brits would hang up after being on hold for 5 minutes against 22% of Americans. But I am curious how many minutes it takes for those percentages to climb. So tell me, how long will you stay on hold with a call center before you hang up? Share your number in the comments below.

Colin Shaw is founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin has been recognized by LinkedIn as one of the top 150 Business Influencers in the world.  He is an international author of four best-selling books on Customer Experience. Colin’s company, Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from our Global Headquarters in Tampa, Florida, USA.

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