Two thirds of customers will not tolerate poor customer service, survey shows

Service culture at Enterprise

Service culture at Enterprise

UK businesses have one chance to get it right when it comes to customer service, new research carried out by car hire company Enterprise Rent-A-Car reveals.

It found six out of 10 UK consumers (62%) say if they receive bad service once, they will never buy from that company again. 

According to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the survey also highlights the main driver of good service is getting the basics right, rather than adding special touches and flourishes. 

When consumers were asked what good customer service means to them, the two most popular responses were:

  • helpful and responsive employees (chosen by 84%) and 
  • quickly sorting out the problem if something goes wrong (75%)

These are also the two factors most likely to annoy customers if they aren’t managed well: 

  • 46% see rude and unfriendly staff as the most irritating thing about bad service
  • A third (33%) say a company that is slow to fix problems is the thing they dislike most

Enterprise said it has developed a strong customer service culture throughout its 55 years of operation and says service is the most important aspect of business success and growth. 

The company measures customer satisfaction at each branch through a monthly telephone survey of over 20,000 customers. 

According to Enterprise, this metric enables it to put customer service at the heart of decision-making. For example, only employees with customer service scores at or above the company average are eligible for promotion.

Mike Nigro, UK managing director at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, said: “This research highlights the importance of high-quality, well-trained employees who deliver great service each and every time. It also shows consumers are accepting when things don’t quite go as expected, but it’s how issues are handled that can define great service. This is perhaps even more vital in an era where social networks allow people to complain online in seconds. 

“The British public are no longer tolerant of poor service and quite rightly will vote with their feet. Nowadays we have a ‘one chance high street’ – if you don’t provide great service from the very beginning, you won’t get a second opportunity.”

The research highlights this growing intolerance: 37% of consumers say they always complain when they receive bad service. And to exacerbate the problem, over a third (34%) actually think the service from UK retailers has got worse over the past 10 years.