Consumers increasingly defecting to competitor brands

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New research has revealed one in five consumers switched companies within the wireless and internet service provider and retail industries. 

According to Accenture’s Global Consumer Survey, this marks a 5% increase in switching from last year. But the majority of this changing of brands is preventable as the research revealed 85% of consumers said companies could have done something different to stop them from leaving.

The survey of more than 12,000 consumers across 32 countries showed that among those that said they would have stayed if their provider had acted differently, two-thirds (67 percent) said they would have been more likely to stay loyalty if they had their customer service issue resolved during their first contact whilst 54% cited rewards as a factor.

Consumers were found to most likely switch wireless phone providers (26%); followed by internet service providers (23%) and retailers (22%).

Additionally, the survey showed that dealing with unfriendly customer service agents was the biggest frustration for customers (65%) followed by having to contact customer service multiple times for the same reason (65%), broken promises (63%), and being on hold for a long time when contacting customer service (61%).

Robert Wollan from Accenture said: “The sobering reality is that ‘tried and true’ strategies for customer acquisition, loyalty and retention are struggling to keep pace with consumers who are perpetually in motion, more technologically savvy than ever, and increasingly unpredictable.

“The news this year is that customers want to be loyal but customer service often fails to meet their expectations. In the digital marketplace, companies must improve social listening capabilities and apply predictive analytics designed to quickly identify and respond to potential customer issues before problems arise.”

The survey also examined customer expectations and found 48% have higher expectations than last year of being given specialized treatment for being a “good” customer.

In terms of service, 50% demand customer service agents know their history to reduce repeated information and nearly a third (31%) of respondents prefer companies that use information about them to make their experience more efficient from one step to the next.

Michelangelo Barbera from Accenture added: “To convince consumers to stay – and spend more—many companies will need to develop more tailored offers and interactions that connect with consumers’ specific needs.

“Taking such proactive steps to keep customers requires companies to use analytics to mine the vast stores of data they possess to gain greater insight into customers’ desires and intentions and behave in the ways that customers want them to. Failing to use that data equates to not listening and can result in customers searching for someone who will.”

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