Nearly two-thirds of American consumers 'walk out' on poor service

With retail sales progressing at a stubbornly slow pace, businesses need to do everything in their power to boost customer service and optimize buying potential.

With retail sales progressing at a stubbornly slow pace, businesses need to do everything in their power to boost customer service and optimize buying potential.

A new survey released this week by Consumer Reports finds Americans are increasingly impatient with and intolerant of poor customer service. Specifically, the survey found 65 percent of respondents are "tremendously annoyed" by rude salespeople. More importantly, 64 percent of consumers claimed they have left a store within the previous year because of poor service.

Additionally, 71 percent of surveyed Americans state they are "extremely irritated" when they are unable to speak to an actual human on the phone, with 67 percent claiming to hang up without resolving their problem.

"There's a feeling on the part of Americans that companies are deliberately making it difficult for them by burying phone numbers, sidestepping calls and steering customers to online FAQs instead of live human beings," said Tod Marks, Senior Project Editor for Consumer Reports.

Retailers should keep these findings in mind when developing or modifying their own customer service strategies. Research techniques such as mystery shopping are becoming increasingly popular among businesses for precisely this reason.