A report looking at customer service trends, commissioned by Kcom in association with the Customer Contact Association (CCA), highlights a significant shift in consumer behaviour with the increasing demise of the loyal customer against the rise of the price-hungry savvy shopper.
Price and quality buys loyalty
The report finds that price (26%) and quality (24%) are the top two reasons for choosing to return to a company, followed by customer service (16%). The finding is aligned to results from a CCA member’s survey which reveals that 44% of organisations feel customers are becoming less loyal, identifying a growing need for businesses to rethink the rules of customer engagement.
Nearly two-thirds of consumer respondents (59%) claim that that they would be more willing to use an automated service if it guaranteed them a discount. This is reflective of the growing trend of discount websites, such as Groupon and Vouchercodes.co.uk which are used by millions in order to seek out the best deal. Yet 52% of businesses admit to not currently offering new or existing customers discount codes as an incentive.
“In this discount-led era customers are clearly more picky and price driven, because the market has allowed them to be so,” said Mark Pritchard, Business Development Director at Kcom. “This study shows us that if what you’re selling is identical to that of your competition, the primary consumer driver will always be price.
“However, while customer service may not have come out top in the survey, it is still a deciding factor in why people choose one company over another. If you offer a low price, but a customer is unhappy with customer service, they are unlikely to return. Companies need to decide which area they can best compete on, whilst also keeping in mind the other two.”
Quick, convenient and personal service
The number one customer service priority for consumers is being able to speak to a live person, followed by the first person they contact resolving their query and receiving a faster response. 88% of CCA members echoed these priorities, stating that in the future contact centre workers will be armed with the right knowledge in order to deal with more customer enquiries.
It’s a 24/7 joined up world: With a variety of ways in which consumers can now make contact with an organisation, 57% of respondents stated it to be vital or very important that a company knows how and when they have interacted with them before. However, this is in paradox to the CCA member’s survey in which 77% admit to still having a silo approach to their customer’s experience.
Pritchard commented: “Consumers have high expectations when it comes to customer service, wanting to be able to contact a company in whatever way they choose and have their query resolved quickly by someone who has the knowledge to do so. Legacy systems should be joined up and contact centres armed with collaborative technologies; they will be better equipped to deal with customer queries quickly and efficiently, helping to improve customer retention.”
Anne Marie Forsyth, Chief Executive of the Customer Contact Association said: “Consumer behaviour is changing rapidly which is creating significant challenges for the customer contact sector but it is also presents a golden opportunity to re-engineer service strategy. CCA is leading a radical rethink of organisational dynamics, the systems we deploy and the people we recruit. We’re not just helping organisations to anticipate the future, we’re creating a strategic blueprint for a new and more enlightened customer-centric service model.”