The verdict is in - Kiwis have a pet peeve and it is bad customer service.

A survey reveals almost all New Zealanders who had a bad experience with a company will never give them another chance. We are also quick to spread the word to our friends and family about how terribly things went.

Reader's Digest magazine commissioned Catalyst Research to speak to 1500 Kiwis, most of whom said they refuse to deal with firms that lack good manners. Nine out of 10 of us will walk away from the offending business forever.

The survey also indicated we prefer to provide feedback for good rather than bad customer service.


So businesses providing suboptimal service may never find out what made their patrons ride off into the sunset.

But give us a good experience and we'll rave about it.

Not only will 97 per cent of us bring in more business, but most will also make it a point to thank the staff member.

And eight in 10 will tell management if we're pleased.

So what defines good customer service? It is the feeling of being heard. We want our needs met at the first port of call - Kiwis hate the feeling of being passed around.

But getting your desired result from a company is a science and an art, says psychologist and conflict resolution expert Peter Doyle. "[It's] about being solution-driven."

He suggests the Describe, Explain, Solve, Cost-benefit analysis (DESC) technique.

Start with defining your problem without letting emotions get in the way. Next, explain your viewpoint. You can then work with the customer service representative to solve the issue. Finally, is the outcome worth spending time and energy on the issue?