A survey of 1,506 UK consumers aged 18 to 21 by customer Intelligence company Market Force Information has found that one in five young customers feel embarrassed and intimated when they are asked for ID while purchasing age restricted products or visiting age restricted locations.

The insight has prompted Market Force to develop and launch a customer intelligence programme Check-it, which goes live today. The Check-it programme offers a comprehensive overview of the identification checking process, which not only ensures employees are performing age verification checks, but offers companies invaluable information about how customers are asked for ID and how this makes them feel.

Tim Ogle, Europe CEO at Market Force, said: “Businesses have a duty of care and need to show due diligence in the sale of their products. It’s vital for companies to know that employees are performing age verification checks consistently, and equally important that businesses are aware of how their customers are being asked.

“Our research shows that 50% of young customers feel the way they are asked for ID directly affects their experience and if an establishment leaves them with a negative impression, one in three will not return. It seems apparent that we are creating an uncomfortable experience for young customers and must do more to educate, to ensure the age verification process is not so intimidating that it puts potential customers off.”

To ensure young customers are not alienated during the ID process, Ogle says businesses need to find out what their customers think and feel. “Once you have that insight, you can then be sure of the right tone and manner your employees need to adopt when dealing with your customers,” he said.

Check-it enables businesses to meet legal and social responsibilities when selling age restricted products and helps them to understand and improve their customers’ experiences. The programme uses a nationwide team of 18-21-year-olds, who are all carefully approved to ensure they have recognised and valid forms of ID. These 18-21-year-olds then go into businesses and feed back on the age verification experience. Market Force’s proprietary Customer Intelligence Platform allows businesses to view the results in real time and discover the genuine experiences their young customers have in locations when asked for ID.

Ogle concluded: “The current economic climate means any potential business that can be converted into a sale is more important than ever. The amount of custom that is potentially lost through an intimidating ID process should serve as a wake-up call to industries that offer age restricted products or services. There is a huge opportunity for brands to create a good relationship with this age group. Ensure your teams give a consistent, good service now and you will create customers for life.”