Some 82% of consumers have had a positive experience with a company recently, finds Verint [download page] in a survey of 18,038 respondents across 9 countries. Consumers were most likely to attribute a positive experience to the company dealing with their request quickly, while a sizable proportion also said that the company understood their issue and history.
That implies a level of desire for personalization in the customer interaction, though there appears to be some tension on this front. Indeed, when presented with pairs of statements and asked to choose the one they agree (presumably more) with, consumers responded as follows:
- 52% chose the statement “I like it when service is personalized to me and my interests” versus 48% who chose the statement “I am suspicious about how my data is used”; and
- 51% chose the statement “Customer service is an experience that should reflect me as a person” against 49% who chose the statement “Customer service is a transaction – it shouldn’t matter who I am”.
While the results imply that there’s some appetite for personalization, they also show that there’s a demand for simple, fast and effective service. That’s supported by recent research from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), in which a fast response to enquiries or complaints emerged as the most important aspect of an ideal customer experience.
Verint’s research shows that consumers will reward companies that provide an excellent customer experience. In fact, roughly 6 in 10 said that they would tell friends and family about a customer experience that went the extra mile, and almost 4 in 10 would write a positive review. These are important actions, given that word-of-mouth and customer reviews have tremendous sway over consumers’ purchase decisions.
Interestingly, respondents were more than 3 times as likely to tell friends and family about a positive experience (61%) as they were to talk about it on social media (17%). This fairly low figure comes despite other research suggesting that consumers are more likely to praise than complain about a company’s customer service on social.
Nevertheless, the Verint study indicates that customer service can affect perceptions and even loyalty. When asked what frustrates them enough to make them switch providers to a competitor, survey respondents pointed first to finding a cheaper alternative (31% share) but second to impolite, rude or uninterested staff (16%).
Research released by Accenture earlier this year also shows the potential negative impact of subpar service, with a slight majority of US customers saying that they switched providers last year due to poor service.
As for customer loyalty? Globally, Verint finds that the highest portion of customers have stayed with their bank for more than 3 years (80%), with sizable proportions also staying loyal for that long to mobile phone companies (65%) and utility companies (62%), among others. On average, though, just 41% of customers have stayed loyal to an online retailer for more than 3 years, presumably as price is a more important factor in that sector.
About the Data: The research was commissioned by Verint in July and August 2015 in association with Opinium Research LLP, a UK-based research company. Interviews were conducted amongst 18,038 consumers in the following countries: Germany (2,006), France (2,001), Netherlands (2,002), Poland (2,001), UK (2,004), South Africa (2,010), U.S. (2,007), Australia (2,007) and New Zealand (2,000). The research was conducted online, in the local language for each area and respondents were incentivized to participate.