MARKETPLACE | Long checkout lines among top consumer gripes

12/31/1969 07:00 EST | Updated 03/07/2012 05:12 EST

Long checkout lines, difficult-to-find salespeople, and unfriendly customer service rank among Canadians' biggest pet peeves when it comes to retail service, according to a poll done for CBC Marketplace.

The show, which begins its new season on Jan. 6 with a one-hour special, asked Canadians about their experiences — both positive and negative — with customer service in national retail chain stores, including: department and big box general merchandise stores; electronic stores; major fashion stores; furniture and furnishing stores; health and beauty/drug stores; and home improvement stores.

The poll didn't survey people on their attitude towards banks, cable companies, cell phone/internet service, airlines, utilities, grocery/food services, restaurants, or automotive dealers/service.

Canadians' biggest pet peeves in terms of bad customer service in the store include (figures indicate percentage of times each answer was among respondents' top three):

- Long lineups at checkout (42%).

- Difficulty finding salespeople in the store (39%).

- Rude/unfriendly salespeople (33%).

- Salespeople who ignore you (24%).

- Difficulty finding out how much products cost (23%).

Canadians also had some main gripes when it came to their post-purchase customer service experience. Those complaints included having to fight too hard to resolve issues, which was a top-three complaint for 51 per cent of respondents. A return policy that was limited to in-store credits — no cash refund — was a top-three complaint for 49 per cent of respondents, while a return policy with hidden limitations was cited by 47 per cent in their top three.

Asked to rank their top three most-important elements of in-store customer service, 54 per cent said clearly priced products, while 48 per cent said having advertised products in stock. Almost half — 48 per cent — said fast service at checkout lines was among their top three.

The results are based on an online survey conducted by Leger Marketing between July 19 and July 24, 2011. A total of 1,025 Canadians answered the survey.