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Brand sentiment reliant on customer service teams - report

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11th Apr 2013
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The loyalty of your customers very often rests in the hands of your frontline staff, according to a new study.

The ClickFox 2013 Brand Loyalty report surveyed over 300 consumers and the findings reiterate the damage that service agents can do to its customer relationships.

According to the findings, brand image and advertising are most important in determining loyalty with benefits driving a satisfied relationship between customers and brands. Consumers cited brand quality (60%), ease of use (46%) and features (40%) as crucial in deciding their favourite brands.

However, poor customer service and brand quality were shown to put customers off most. Consumers also strongly dislike unsolicited outreach from agents representing the brand and, reflecting this, the report showed that respondents identified in-store representatives and phone agents as their lowest preference for learning more about products.

Additionally, two thirds of those surveyed said they do not want to be contacted over the phone for special offers, information and upgrades. However, there is still hope for marketers – nearly three quarters of respondents said they would prefer to be contacted via email and text messages from companies.

Marco Pacelli, CEO of ClickFox, said: “Our research shows that consumers have a negative disposition to service agents. This lingering sentiment often centres on service teams having inaccurate or incomplete data regarding a consumer’s experience with a brand, leading to customer frustration as they repeat their inquiry to multiple agents.

“While the first brand experience may be the tipping point for customer loyalty, businesses need to better analyse trends in negative service inquiries to fully capture the hearts, minds, and wallets of consumers.”

The findings come only a few weeks after a survey of 1,000 UK consumers by OnePoll revealed the extent of consumer mistrust towards contact centre staff. The research found that just 5% of people are confident that their personal financial data will be safe when given to a customer service agent over the phone.

Other findings in the ClickFox report indicate that sentiment towards loyalty programs appears to have changed. Ironically, 35% of consumers identified loyalty programs as trivial when selecting their favourite brands whereas last year’s survey showed more than half of consumers would consider increasing the amount of business they do with a company for a loyalty reward.

Elsewhere, Apple has retained the top spot in customer loyalty rankings, fending off competition from the likes of Amazon – which climbed the list from fifth place to second.

Starbucks, Google and Microsoft were the three other brands that consumers cannot live without.

Unsurprisingly, given the top five list, consumers were most loyal to the food and beverage, airlines, cellphone manufacturers, retail stores, hotel chains, and automakers sector. However, the majority of consumers admitted that they are only ever truly loyal to three brands they engage with on a daily basis.

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