Survey finds a need for better customer service

In an effort to save money, more companies seem to be putting their customers second, leaving patrons frustrated and potentially leading to lost business.

In an effort to save money, more companies seem to be putting their customers second, leaving patrons frustrated and potentially leading to lost business.

A recent survey by the customer satisfaction research organization Consumer Reports found that 64 percent of participants had left a store out of frustration in the past year, while an even higher number - 67 percent - said they had ended a service call without a satisfactory resolution.

Such negative experiences are likely costing companies money as they miss out on what industry consultant Jack Abelson calls the "profit producer" of customer service.

"There is almost complete failure to recognize and appreciate the value people can bring to the equation," Abelson said.

Among the top "gripes" discovered by Consumer Reports were long waits at counters or checkout lines, overly pushy salespeople and a lack of apology for problems that went unresolved.

These findings clearly highlight the importance of good customer service and a strong understanding of clientele. Research methods such as mystery shopping can provide valuable insight to businesses looking to improve in this area.