Wednesday, May 26, 2010

“Show Me the Value!” Say British 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. UK 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, released by Convergys Corporation.

Convergys’ second annual consumer research study demonstrated that the recession has increased UK consumer demand for excellence in customer service. 79% of the consumers surveyed reported that the service they receive is the same or worse than it was a year ago and two in three people (5% increase on last year) are more than prepared to complain about it, in the hope getting resolution.

Meanwhile, the study results also highlighted that one in four customer service representatives polled felt that they were less equipped with the necessary tools to offer a better service than last year, with only 38% believing an improved customer service was offered.

Value my time: Consumers continue to expect superior customer service experiences, with 65% of survey respondents choosing "addresses my needs on first contact” as the attribute most often selected in their top five customer service attributes, up from 61% in the 2008 pre-recession research. Since they are key to first-contact resolution, “knowledgeable employees” also ranked high, chosen by 62% of consumers as the third most important customer service attribute.

Value my money: Recession-weary consumers are not just looking for the lowest cost, but the best value in their customer transactions. 64% of survey respondents chose “good value for the money” as the second most important customer service attribute, up significantly from 2008. 30% 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 60% of survey respondents, down slightly from 62% in 2008.

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, particularly with the Millennial age group (consumers between the ages of 18-34).

Despite consumers’ clear preferences for value and efficient issue resolution, bad customer experiences continue to frustrate consumers, 51% of whom reported having a bad experience with a company, a slight decrease from 2008. In response, today’s value-minded consumer is more likely to speak with his or her wallet: 49% of the survey respondents who had a bad experience reported that they stopped doing business with that company, up from 44% 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 63% in 2008. Companies that were not equipped to resolve or respond to customer complaints paid the price in customer defections. 59% 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 53% of respondents who received a response without resolution.

85% 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. Interestingly, this trend did not belong just to the social media savvy Millennial, but stretched across all of the age groups surveyed.

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