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October 8, 2013

Consumers waste a fortnight every year queuing and resolving complaints digitally

KANA finds consumers spend 10 days waiting in line and more than two days complaining each year.

By Claire Vanner

Consumers are increasingly adept at using digital channels to get and complain about service

Omnibus polling for KANA Software has found that the average UK adult spends nearly two weeks each year waiting for service, making complaints and using digital communications to direct their indignation at companies that provide poor service.

This valuable time is lost simply trying to get the service they need or expect from private and public sector organisations.

"Our vacations are offset by annual ‘greycations’ invested into the mundane process of waiting to be served and trying to get things put right," said Kenny Bain, EMEA general manager for KANA. "You could argue that the effect of poor service neutralises any benefit we get from our annual holidays."

The poll also found electronic communication is increasingly important as a conduit for complaining in the UK, enabling consumers with their British discretion for face-to-face confrontation to "voice" frustrations on other platforms. Only 15% of those polled said they complained face to face. One-quarter of those polled said they used multiple channels to complain, with one in 10 using three or more channels.

KANA suggests that technological solutions to time wasted on complaining are being overlooked by tens of thousands of companies and public sector bodies. Time wasted could be simply and affordably eradicated if companies improved their IT systems to avoid duplication and direct enquiries to the person best equipped with proper knowledge to handle each customer’s issue or request.

Customer inertia is no longer the certainty it has long been perceived to be by market-leading service providers. Mobility and social media have created a forum for debate about service and a reservoir of advice for shoppers seeking better experiences. Millions of consumers take to Twitter every day, and few show any reluctance to complain if they aren’t getting the service they desire.

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The poll found that the average UK consumer has used 7.4 channels of electronic communication in the past six months.

The top six methods of electronic communication by UK adults:
1. Email – 90%
2. Mobile phone calls – 83%
3. Text messages 79%
4. Communication through company websites – 75%
5. Fixed line phone calls – 69%
6. Facebook – 67%

According to the research, Twitter has been used by 24% of the UK adult population in the past six months.

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