62% of Europeans will change provider if met with bad customer service
- Accessibility and speed in resolving issues are key to customer satisfaction
- Face-to-face is the preferred mode of communications with customer service
- Banking, retail and hotels rank high in customer service
A study commissioned by DHL Express has revealed that the average European consumer spends more than two hours and 33 minutes per week dealing with customer services.
The independent online survey of 6,435 adults in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, has revealed some consistent expectations amongst European respondents about customer service:
- Lengthy waiting times (86%) is cited as top frustration for Europeans dealing with customer service, yet 71 percent of Europeans had to wait up to a week for their problem to be resolved
- 62 percent said they would seek an alternative supplier of the product or service if they received bad customer service, and 66 per cent disliked automated answering services
- Interestingly, more European men say they prefer to deal with customer service operators face-to-face than women (34% vs. 32%). When asked about their preferred method of communication, Britain and France are in agreement, opting to speak to a representative face-to-face (43%), compared to the rest of Europe who prefer speaking to a representative on the telephone (40%).
- When asked which industry provides the best customer service, opinions were mixed with banks, retail and hotels all ranking well, amongst others such as telecommunications, utility, restaurants, insurance, healthcare, express delivery and online industries. For instance, banks are rated as the best customer service provider, according to 22 percent of total respondents from Poland, France and Sweden, whereas the Italians and Germans consider retail companies to offer the best service (19%). A quarter of Britons (24%) have chosen the hotel industry, while 14 percent of respondents from France infer that hotels, restaurants, and banks provide equally good customer service.
This survey helps to validate the important aspects of customer service
Across Europe, 17 percent of people did not have their problem resolved within a day and had to wait up to a week for it to be resolved, and 12 percent received no resolution at all. Polish people have the best outcome when dealing with customer services, with 92 percent of the population having their issue resolved, compared to only 83 percent of people living in France.
George Kerschbaumer, Executive Vice President, Commercial, DHL Express said: “We commissioned this survey to better validate the most important aspects of customer service across the diverse European market. The results from our pan-European study have helped us gain a greater understanding of the expectations of Europe’s varying demographic groups whilst also being able to compare and contrast the requirements of customers in the different markets.
The results are helpful for us to compare the general market trends with our own internal Customer Relations findings. In the long run, it is in the pipeline to draw comparisons across continents where we operate in and to understand the differences.”
Complementing the results of the online customer service survey for Europe, it is found that DHL’s customers from Brazil, China, Russia and Germany, share what is termed as “acceptable waiting times”, in a separate focus group study by Synovate.
Customers in these countries share consistent service expectations such as picking up the phone within 3-4 rings , and proactive notifications should a problem arise. While customers from Brazil would like to be able to trace their shipments within 2 hours, a timeframe of 24 hours is considered acceptable to customers from China, Russia and Germany.
Speed and accuracy is essential in the logistics industry
"Speed and accuracy is essential in our industry like ours where we deliver close to 1 billion shipments annually. To drive quality performance in every shipment cycle, most of our key markets lead in service levels with a response rate of 90 percent of customer calls within 10 seconds, supported by technological infrastructure such as the Global Quality Control Center which ensures that the shipment information is visible to the network within 15 minutes of the event capture. This allows us to provide proactive response to our customers, a standard benchmark required in our industry." added Kerschbaumer.
The European online survey revealed that almost a quarter of Italians and French say they would lose their temper and shout at the operator (24%), compared to only five percent of Germans. Furthermore, the survey concluded that people living in capital cities are less likely to escalate a complaint to the manager of the company than people living outside the capital.
The survey found that Italians are the least likely to give a financial reward for good customer service, with only four percent tipping, compared to British people who are the most likely to tip (39%). Across Europe, women are more likely than men to do nothing to reward good customer service (16% vs. 14%) suggesting men are the more generous sex.
On which country offers the best customer service worldwide, Italy, France, Sweden and Germany all say that their countries offer the best customer service. However, almost half of Britons say that they think the United States offers the best customer service (47%), whilst Poles think that customer service in Germany is the best (19%).
"It has been insightful for us to compare the perceptions of these markets on customer service. Our priority is to continue to drive consistent global standards so that we can provide a customer experience that is unique to DHL all over the world. To do that, we are committed to attracting the best people in the business and providing them with ongoing training in pursuit of our service excellence. Our efforts in attracting the right people and ensuring they have the extensive training have definitely paid off throughout Europe and elsewhere," Kerschbaumer said.