Study: Few Think Retailers Committed to Service

Jan 15, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A new nationwide telephone study from Novations Group, reports only 28 percent of consumers believe retailers are committed to providing a high level of service.

Eleven percent of respondents say stores are not committed while five percent say stores are totally indifferent to the needs of customers.

Brian Metcalf, senior vice president of Novations’ retail practice, said, “US retailers may talk about delivering great service but often it is more wishful thinking than reality,
according to the customers we surveyed.”

Many retailers presume that customers no longer care about service. “Bad service,” added Metcalf, “upsets customers – even with those who have developed diminished expectations.”

Novations research found that women, as well as more affluent and educated consumers, were least likely to believe in a retailer’s commitment to customer service.

Moderator’s Comment: Does it cost a retailer more to offer superior customer service or is it primarily a matter of corporate culture? Are companies
putting customer service dollars into the wrong place by spending on technology instead of personnel?

We found the following quote from Denis Pombriant, vice president and general manager of the Aberdeen Group’s CRM business in the January 2004 issue of
CRM magazine on a piece discussing tipping and customer service.

“Part of the problem with service today is there is a great deal of turnover. Companies are building complex systems to give people a good level of service,
but customer reps are still not paid that well. Customers are obsessed with low prices, and to deliver goods and services for the lowest prices and remain competitive companies
often have to offer just the most basic service and support.”
Anderson – Moderator

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