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Poor Support Drives Customers Away From ISP’s
By: MarkJ - 20 July, 2007 (9:10 AM)

Research carried out on behalf of call centre specialists Merchants Consulting has revealed that consumers are abandoning ISPs because of poor customer service. One in five people claim to have left their provider because of it, costing ISP's over £476 million a year in lost custom:

The research shows that 18 per cent of people have withdrawn their custom from a business based SOLELY on a bad experience with a call centre. And complaints such as staff with a poor command of English and a long wait to have call answered top the poll of complaints – rather than any problems with products.

The 1.7 million customers who have parted company with ISPs because of this poor customer service are taking with them over £280 of business each – totalling at least £476 million worth of custom a year across the UK. And experts say that moving supplier has never been easier.

Martin Dove, Managing Director of Merchants Consulting, has worked in the international call centre industry for over 20 years with some of the world’s most familiar brands. He said: “We all know that people get annoyed by a bad experience with a call centre - but these results should act as a real wake up call for business leaders.

Customers are abandoning ISPs in their droves – and it is not to do with connection speed or line rental cost. Although that may be their initial gripe, the ultimate reason they give for leaving is because of a bad experience with a call centre.

Dove added: “It appears that ISPs are accepting customer churn as a given. The reality of the situation, as we’ve been told for years, is that it costs between 4 and 5 times as much to attract a new customer as it does to retain an existing one.

We know from the work we do with clients around the world that there is often no silver bullet to this issue - organisations have a myriad of challenges that they are facing on a daily basis which make running a seamless call centre easier said than done. However solving simple problems - such as fixing broken or clunky processes and giving call centre agents the basic tools and skills they need to demonstrate the value of a customer - are fundamental to retaining business and reducing customer churn.

Top Five Call Centre Gripes

1. Staff with a poor command of English
2. Long wait to have call answered
3. Being left on hold
4. Problem was not resolved
5. Making choices by pressing keys on keypad

We couldn’t agree more; although it’s a shame the same study didn’t highlight the shortcomings in ISP e-mail support too. Not to mention the advantages of having a good support portal with accurate service status updates and user controls.

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