Average UK customer service issue takes nine hours to be resolved

Customer service workers.
Average UK customer service issue takes nine hours to be resolved
Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

Online brand management firm, Yext, has unveiled the results of a new, original survey that reveals the extent to which consumers are struggling to find accurate information from brands online.

The research surveyed 3000 consumers across Europe, including 1,000+ consumers in the UK, and found that on average, respondents say it takes nearly 9 hours for a typical customer service issue to be resolved. This is much higher than the expected time it would take to resolve an issue, which respondents put at 14.5 minutes.

With over four in five (83%) of Brits making an online purchase at least once a month, it’s crucial that company websites provide consumers with accurate support and answers to their questions. In fact, 82% of respondents reported that they would be likely to shop elsewhere if they experienced poor customer service.

However, it is clear that many customer websites aren’t up to scratch with over half (54%) of respondents reporting that they have become frustrated searching on a company’s help site in the past month. When it comes to resolving their customer service issue, 60% are unlikely to trust an answer from a third-party blog or website.

The findings reveal that: 

Consumers are turning to traditional methods such as phone calls and emails to get support 

  • 40% of respondents stated that they would email the company or call customer service if they can’t find relevant information on a company’s help site. This could lead to a customer service department being overloaded, and higher costs being accrued. 
  • 21% said their next step would be to search for the answer via a search engine.

Failing to provide helpful online answers to customer questions could lead to a loss of business:

  • Nearly half (47%) of consumers say they have been prevented from making an online purchase due to the help section of the website not providing them with the information they need.
  • 24% report frequently purchasing products/services from rival companies because of unhelpful search functions.
  • 67% believe that customer service matters just as much as product quality.

Consumers are facing common issues when searching a company’s help site for support-related information:

  • 42% say that help sites infrequently provide the answers they are looking for with their first search.
  • Respondents reported the biggest challenges as the help site not understanding their question (61%), delivering unrelated search results (50%), providing out of date or inaccurate information (33%) or being difficult to use 26%).

Nico Beukes, MD of Northern Europe at Yext, said: “Our research demonstrates that while the digitalisation of retail is expected to expand, consumers still value customer experience that puts humans at the centre.

“While the survey shows that consumers want to find answers independently, positive customer experience is the most powerful tool to consolidating customer loyalty. In a climate where every penny counts, being able to provide customers with self-service online support that understands their questions and gives them direct answers at the touch of a button will be paramount in delivering the customer service they expect.”

The data for this report was collected by the independent market research agency Opinium on behalf of Yext. A total of 3,000 people over the age of 18 from the United Kingdom, Germany, and France (of which 1,000 were in the United Kingdom) were surveyed with an online questionnaire in November 2022. The quota of the survey is representative of the population in each country by gender, age, and region. Individual percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole percent.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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