A Customer Service Study released by Coldwell Banker revealed a strong correlation between the quality of a company’s customer service and its long-term success. According to the findings, the average U.S. consumer switched businesses they dealt with twice in the past three years due to “bad service.”

When asked to define the differences between great and bad, consumers said the top characteristics of companies with “great service” were:

  • Resolving questions and problems (66 percent)
  • Knowledge of the product or service  (49 percent)
  • Being easy to reach (35 percent)
  • Understanding requirements (35 percent)

Conversely, top characteristics associated with “bad service” were:

  • Inability to resolve questions or problems (46 percent)
  • Being unavailable/difficult to reach (38 percent)
  • Needing to deal with multiple people/departments to resolve problems (37 percent)
  • Lack of product knowledge (34 percent)
  • Unprofessional demeanor (33 percent)

The survey examined several industries where customer satisfaction is most important. Banking (73 percent), retail (59 percent), utility companies (57 percent) and insurance companies (57 percent) were ranked the highest. Banking scored particularly high because almost nine out of 10 respondents reported dealing with a bank at some point in their lives, more than any other business segment.

Thirty-eight percent of consumers indicated that customer satisfaction is important when dealing with a real estate sales associate.

The top five most important customer service skills associated with buying or selling a home are listening, helping to select a home based on the customer requirements, helping consumers understand the home-buying process, property listing and advertising and market analysis.

In general, the Coldwell Banker study found that the quality of customer service in the residential real estate segment has remained about the same (69 percent) as in the past, while 16 percent believe service levels have increased and 15 percent said they have declined.

The Coldwell Banker Customer Service Study is an online survey of 555 U.S. consumers who have bought or sold a house anytime within their lives. Harris Interactive conducted the research online in August 2004 with its sample drawn from the Harris Poll Online panel of double-opt-in respondents.

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