Canadians say they wait too long for service: 86 per cent admit to leaving a store because of it, according to Maritz Survey

    Survey also says 67 per cent tell others about their frustrating

    TORONTO, Aug. 26 /CNW/ - Canadian consumers are abandoning their shopping
carts, delaying purchases and leaving stores, public transit stops and
restaurants in significant numbers according to a Maritz Research survey on
customer wait times, released today. A whopping 86 per cent of participants
polled admitted to walking out of a store frustrated with having waited too
long for service. The research showed that customer expectations and opinions
on wait times were strongly influenced by the retailer's attitude towards
client care. The poll also reveals the ripple effect of unsatisfied consumers,
impacting their future spending and potentially additional loss of sales
through negative word-of-mouth messages.
    According to the survey conducted by Maritz Research that polled over
1,300 Canadians between the ages of 18 - 64 from Atlantic Canada, Quebec,
Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia the following
percentages of customers walked out of the store due to long wait times:


              Department Store                             78%
              Public Transit                               64%
              Quick Service Restaurant                     58%
              Convenience Store                            54%
              Banking Institution                          54%
              Medical Institution                          50%
              Grocery Store                                40%

    With today's slowing economy retailers can't underestimate the influence
of the in-store experience on their bottom line. There is a strong
relationship between the frustration experienced during long wait times, the
likelihood of leaving the store and the chance that the customer will not
return to make the intended purchase or again for future purchases.
    "Competition for most retailers is plentiful. Customers who are leaving
stores due to long wait time have other options," said Rob Daniel, President -
Managing Director Maritz Research, Canada. "Enhancing the customer experience
is the best way for most retailers to set themselves apart and retain
    Even in grocery stores, where consumers are investing a significant
amount of time selecting products, results show that 40 per cent of customers
admitted to leaving without making a purchase. Survey participants indicated
that eight minutes is a reasonable wait time in grocery stores and after 15
minutes they would consider leaving.

    News travels fast, bad news faster than ever before

    Close to 70 per cent of customers surveyed told others about their
negative experience and half of those polled noted that they had at some point
posted a negative experience online. In a time where shopping research takes
place online and people are engaged in social networks to share and collect
ideas, retailers are at risk of losing customers before they set foot in the

    Customer Experience

    Customers responded in high volumes to customer service actions that
would increase the time they were willing to wait. 82 per cent of those polled
would increase their wait time if they felt compassion or apologies were
offered for the wait and 67 per cent would wait longer if they were updated on
their status. In some cases all that is required is a friendly employee, with
74 per cent of those polled agreeing they would increase their wait time if
greeted with a smile. The poll indicates that businesses that introduce
extended customer service tactics like offering refreshments, music or reading
materials may encourage customers to stay long enough to complete their
    "With 53 per cent saying that leaving a store had an impact on their
decision to return, retailers could stand to lose over half of these customers
permanently," said Daniel. "What's clear from our results is that businesses
can do more to keep customers in the stores and enhance their in-store

    Public Sector Wait Times

    This survey also investigated wait time experience with the two of the
most frequently used public sector services - medical institutions and public
transit. Customers indicated a higher tolerance for longer wait times saying
they would stay up to 81 minutes before considering leaving a medical
institution and up to 22 minutes before considering leaving public transit.
    "Wait times is the first indicator of customer experience across multiple
sectors and a primary driver of consumer satisfaction whether we are talking
about groceries or health care," Daniel added. "It should be top of mind for
business when assessing how the needs of customers could be better addressed."
    This online Maritz Poll, which was conducted in August 2008, featured
responses from 1,306 Canadians randomly selected to participate in this study
online. To ensure the data was representative of the Canadian population, data
was weighted to Statistics Canada data for several demographic categories
including gender, province and age.

    About Maritz Research

    As one of the world's largest marketing research firms, Maritz Research
helps many of today's most successful companies improve performance through a
deep understanding of their customers, employees and channel partners. Founded
in 1973, it offers a range of strategic and tactical solutions concentrating
primarily in the automotive, financial services, hospitality, pharmaceutical,
telecommunications, retail, workplace and technology industries. The company
is a member of the Canadian Marketing Association, the Market Research and
Intelligence Association, ESOMAR, the Market Research Society, CASRO, the
Conference Board, and the American Marketing Association.
    Maritz Research Canada and its sister firm, Maritz Canada, are units of
Maritz, a sales and marketing services company, which helps organizations
achieve their full potential through understanding, enabling, and motivating
employees, channel partners, and customers. In addition to market and customer
research, Maritz provides communications, learning solutions, incentive
initiatives, meetings and event management, rewards and recognition, travel
management services, and customer loyalty programs.

For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Alsop-Lee/Lisa Mills, Media Profile,
(416) 504-8464,

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