Uncommunicative IT suppliers get thumbs down from customers

3rd Aug 2001

Questioned about how satisfied 12,471 companies were with the suppliers of IT solutions, just 21% of decision-makers and executives were totally satisfied.

Those people involved in the surveys by InfoQuest responded to between 40 and 60 questions and statements to do with the business relationship that existed between the customer and supplier. These ranged from pricing to product quality; management relations to customer support; and sales performance to delivery.

Over the years, InfoQuest has maintained an average response rate of between 70 and 75%. This means that the results and opinions come from a true cross-section of the population rather than just from those customers who might treat the survey as an extension of a complaints procedure.

The results show that where there were four choices – totally satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied and totally dissatisfied – just 21% were totally satisfied.

“Typical results for other industries would show an 80:20 split between customers that were satisfied and those that weren’t,” says John Coldwell, from InfoQuest’s UK operation. “And we would expect well-managed organisations to have a much higher percentage of customers in the totally satisfied category.

“For example, in the group of companies that we’ve classified as Power, 34% were totally satisfied; 47% of customers of Packaging customers were totally satisfied and a whopping 66% from Financial Services.

“One could argue that the results reflect the enormous pressure on IT companies for the continuous development of their offerings. But when these companies are selling solutions and CRM packages, the message that is being relayed back to the management is pretty damning. It seems to be that IT companies aren’t managing the basics, such as communication.

Written comments from customers suggest an air of arrogance.
“Do something about customer service. Time to get a call back is terrible. Thought it was getting better, then it got worse.”

“It would be nice if your local sales people recognise the fact that I’m alive.”

Further research from InfoQuest’s involvement in more than 46,000 business-to-business worldwide surveys uncovered the following statistics:

• A totally satisfied customer contributes 2.6 times as much revenue to a company as a somewhat satisfied customer.

• A totally satisfied customer contributes 17 times as much revenue as a somewhat dissatisfied customer.

• A totally dissatisfied customer decreases revenue at a rate equal to 1.8 times what a totally satisfied customer contributes to a business.

This last finding is particularly worrying since it means that even with twice as many totally satisfied as completely dissatisfied customers, the business would be doing little better than standing still.



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