40% report positive complaints experiences
NCA research finds 37% of consumers would be likely to tell others if they have a positive experience when making a complaint.
17 February 2010
Research commissioned by the National Consumer Agency has found that 37% of consumers would be likely to tell others if they have a positive experience with a company when making a complaint. The study, carried out by Amarach Research, shows that this is against a backdrop of Irish consumers increasingly willing to complain when dissatisfied, now at 78%.
While the majority of consumers who have had reason to complain found the process easy (69%), those who did have an issue or had difficulty during the complaints process cited unhelpful staff as being the lead issue. When asked what steps retailers could take to offer better customer service, almost three in five (58%) believe that having staff members trained in customer service and complaints handling would help in offering a better consumer experience.
Ann Fitzgerald, chief executive of the National Consumer Agency said: “In the current economic climate many businesses are seeking cost effective ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. One such way is to ensure that you have a proper complaints process in place and that your staff are properly versed in the principles of good customer service. We all know the adage that unhappy customers will tell numerous people about a bad experience, but we now also have research to show that if businesses handle consumer complaints properly and effectively, their customers are also willing to broadcast the good news of a positive experience.
“Looking after existing customers is less costly than finding new business and I would call on businesses to encourage dissatisfied consumers to speak up about their issues with a view to maintaining repeat business. Although in theory no business wants complaints, the reality is that by identifying problem areas and through reaching mutually acceptable resolutions with their customers, businesses have a golden opportunity to foster goodwill and repeat purchases through a strong focus on customer relations and good service. Our research shows that an unhappy consumer who doesn’t complain, is more likely to gripe to others about the issue or to avoid that retailer in future, whereas a happy consumer is more likely to return. At a time when the environment for business is tough, it makes sense to look after the people who are already doing business with you,” she said.
The research shows that the purchasing category most likely to generate a complaint or returns is supermarkets and newsagents (17%), which is partly based on the sheer frequency of consumer transactions in that sector; followed by restaurants and takeaways (15%) and clothing or footwear shops (13%).