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Wednesday, 03 September 2014 10:49
Customers feeling let down by financial services brands
Brands risk losing customers with call centre experiences

Nine out of 10 of people are likely to ditch their financial services providers after poor phone experiences.

Thirty-six per cent of people would definitely consider changing company after a poor phone experience, according to a new survey by brand and communications agency Smith & Milton.

A further 55% say they might change their provider, suggesting that the phone remains a hugely important customer touchpoint for brands and consumers alike.

The research questioned 1,000 consumers in the UK about their experiences of financial services brands call centres, and found that over two thirds (68%) of people have had a poor phone experience.

When asked if financial services brands listen to customer complaints about poor phone experiences, opinion was divided with 2 in 5 (40%) stating no while 39% said yes. Views were also divided among the age groups with the youngest demographic 18-24 year olds appearing to be the most cynical. Only 29% believe financial services brands listen to customer complaints versus 46% of people aged 55+ who appear to be more trusting.

The study found that a poor phone experience can have a detrimental effect on consumer impression of a brand. When asked to rank how much a poor phone experience tends to affects their impression of a brand on a scale of 1 to 5 – with ‘5’ being a lot and ‘1’ being not at all – 71% of consumers chose 4 or 5.

Ben Mott, client services director at Smith & Milton, said: “People pick up the phone for the simple reason of wanting to speak to another human being. If the person they speak to sounds ill-informed, or doesn’t communicate the values that originally attracted the customer, it will do little to reassure people that they’re entrusting the right company to look after their possessions. And when this happens, consumers won’t hesitate to switch brands.”

He said that financial services brands need to make sure their marketing teams are working closely with their call centre operators so that staff – who are ultimately brand ambassadors –deliver the same set of values and messages over the phone that would be communicated in an advert.
 
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