Tuesday, March 23, 2010

“Show Me the Value,” Say Recession-Weary Consumers

The late ‘90s mantra of “Show me the money” has morphed into “Show me the value,” reflecting a new focus by consumers hungry for value in all its forms, according to Convergys’ recently completed 2010 Consumer Scorecard Research study. Recession-weary U.S. consumers want the companies with which they do business to value them, value their time, value their money, and value their preferences, say the study findings.

Results from Convergys’ second annual consumer research study demonstrate that the recession has increased consumer demand for excellence in customer service. 46% of the study respondents reported that they are worse off than they were a year ago, and the key word for today’s consumers is “value:”

Value my time: Consumers continue to expect superior customer service experiences, with 33% of survey respondents choosing “addresses my needs on first contact” as the top customer service attribute, up slightly from the 2008 pre-recession research. Since they are key to first-contact resolution, “knowledgeable employees” also ranked high, chosen by 25% of consumers as the third most important customer service attribute, up from 22% in 2008.

Value my money: Recession-weary consumers are not just looking for the lowest cost but the best value in their customer transactions. 31% of survey respondents chose “good value for the money” as the second most important customer service attribute, up significantly from 2008. 33% of respondents rated reliable service as more important than price in their definition of what constitutes “good value for money.” Only 5% of customers defined good value as “paying the lowest price.”

Value me: “Treats me like a valued customer” was the fourth most important attribute, cited by 22% of survey respondents, up from 13% in 2008 and the fastest growing attribute of choice for consumers who want positive acknowledgment from the companies that win their business.

Value my preferences: Survey respondents’ contact channel preferences point to an increasing need for multiple customer care solutions that combine agent-assisted service with automation and self-service options. While consumers still prefer to speak with a customer service agent, customer service via self- service, live web chat, automated phone systems, and e-mail with response is also gaining traction.

Despite consumers’ clear preferences for value and efficient issue resolution, bad customer experiences continue to frustrate consumers, 57% of whom reported having a bad experience with a company, up slightly from 2008. In response, today’s value-minded consumer is more likely to speak with his or her wallet: 44% of the survey respondents who had a bad experience reported that they stopped doing business with that company, up from 38% in 2008.

Those who stay are more likely to seek and expect resolution from a company when they do not receive the service and value they expect. Survey respondents reported that they informed companies of their bad experiences 66% of the time, up from 58% in 2008. Companies that were not equipped to resolve or respond to customer complaints paid the price in customer defections. 57% of survey respondents who reported a bad experience and did not receive a response from the company stopped doing business with the offending party, as did 50% of respondents who received a response without resolution.

80% of survey respondents who had a bad experience with a company also told their friends and colleagues about it, spreading the word through face-to-face chats, e-mails, text messages, and social media, which has immense power to amplify the voice of the frustrated consumer widely among a company’s customers and potential customers.

More information on CRM can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

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