More than 51% of U.S consumers switched service providers in 2013 because of poor customer service—up 5% from 2012. That’s a surprising statistic. But it’s just one finding from a recent survey by Accenture. The survey measured the experiences of 13,168 customers in 33 countries across 10 industries and included 1,256 U.S. customers. Accenture’s survey provides a startling look into the changing consumer dynamics of today’s marketplaces. They call it the “Switching Economy”
According to the survey:
- 90 percent of customers were put on hold for a really long time
- 91 percent had to call multiple times for the same reason
- 58 percent experienced channel inconsistency
- 89 percent had to repeat their issues to multiple agents
- 85 percent dislike dealing with companies hard to do business with.
Overall, customer satisfaction fell 1% in the U.S. in 2013. Customer willingness to recommend a company rose by a miniscule 2% in 2012.
Poor customer service was the key reason for switching providers. Switching rates were highest among retailers, retail banks, and cable and satellite providers.
New Switching Economy Created
Consumer switching in the U.S. reflects what’s happening worldwide. And while switching occurs more in some industries than others, it makes companies vulnerable.
Accenture calls this the “Switching Economy.”
The consulting firm estimates that the “Switching Economy puts more than $5 trillion of revenue up for grabs annually—with $1.3 trillion in the U.S. alone.
Accenture also estimates that the Switching Economy represents 10-15% of total annual budget in most mature markets against 20-25% in emerging markets.
What’s more, close to 60% of the Switching Economy’s potential is driven by the U.S. and the BRIC countries.
Potential For Huge Gains From The Switching Economy
Make no mistake. Consumer switching threatens every company. But it also has the potential for HUGE gains—If companies can build rich customer experiences.
That’s the challenge. But many companies are doing it. Below are five of the top ways your competitors are siphoning off your customers:
Provide Tailored Customer Experiences
Don’t just assure customers that you understand them. Prove it. Provide tailored experiences by customizing channel and interaction preferences. Use predictive analytics to help customize and personalize.
Mange Relationships At Scale
Digital gives you ways to create rich customer experiences. Use it to bring “the intimacy of the corner store” to customers. Then provide more convenient ways for them to access tailored services that really matter to customers.
Use Multi-Channel Approach
Among consumers’ top dissatisfactions is inconsistent experience from channel to channel. To satisfy your customers, create a seamless experience using a multi-channel approach.
Also, integrate processes and information enabling customers to flow between channels when and how they choose. It’ll boost customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Invest In Mobile
Customers are doing more and more ordering using mobile technology. Actually, mobile may be the most used shopping tool of all.
Invest in mobile technology and support services. They’ll help you deliver hyper-relevance to customers cost-effectively.
Harness Social Media
Leverage the power of social media to enrich customer experiences. Social media is great for creating direct, immediate interaction between customers.
Use Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of social media to deliver up-to-the-second preferences to customers and build greater trust between them and you.
Social media can also help you generate more useful customer data—data that’s both personal and actionable.
Take advantage of the Switching Economy. It’s a billion dollar opportunity you can’t afford to miss.
Where necessary, outsource inbound call center services to help boost customer satisfaction. Then use the data generated to enrich customer experiences.
It’ll boost both customer satisfaction and revenues.