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Poor service sends customers packing

Put on hold too long by a bank? Repeatedly asking for, but never receiving, a specific answer about a credit-card account or a utility bill? Many Americans deal with such poor customer service on a regular basis.

A poll released last week by Mobius Management Systems Inc., a provider of customer-service related software, found that more and more people are willing to take their business elsewhere if they receive poor service.

Of the 300 people polled, 60 percent had cancelled a bank account because of poor customer service, 40 percent left telephone companies, 36 percent switched insurance providers, and 35 percent changed credit-card companies. Consumers said they would rather change companies than argue about poorly handled customer-service issues.

"Customer service is no longer judged by how many ways a customer can reach a company," says Mobius president and CEO Mitchell Gross. "It's about creating an individual customer experience that responds to queries and problems at the first moment of customer-to-company contact."

Other poll findings:

*80 percent said they prefer speaking to a live person than to an automated system.

*94 percent wanted to be transferred no more than once when calling about an account.

*80 percent prefer to speak with customer-service representatives on weekends.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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