2012 Consumer Survey: customers are more and more satisfied … and less and less loyalsTo enhance customers service and buying experience became an urgent matter2012 edition of Accenture’s international survey on consumption behavior could be discouraging formany: 2 customers out of 3 changed of provider during 2011, even if customer service’s quality wasbetter with the former provider. The study, realized on 10 000 persons in 27 countries and focusedon 10 fields of activity (retail outlet, mobile phones, Internet providers, telecoms, cable/sat TV, bank,life insurance, transports and tourism, electronics, gas and electricity providers) shows a progress ofthis change in 8 fields out of 10; loyalty programs and cards are not powerful enough to keep them.Mobile phones, internet access, bank and retail outlets are far more subjects to capriciousness.French customers are among the less loyalAnother bad news, France is one of the countries where this lack of satisfaction progresses the most:61% of interrogated customers changed of providers in 2011, a 8% growth in the attrition in only ayear versus 5% in overall interrogated countries. Even worse, French customers are among the morevolatiles: only 19% are feeling “really loyal” to their provider, for an international average 23%.Customer service isn’t fulfilling its promises.Customers’ disaffection toward their provider is, before all, explained by their dissatisfaction ofcustomer service (22%), more than the price (18%). 88% of French customers feel “really frustrated”when taken engagement is not on par with customer’s experience reality: over the words, whateverthey are (low cost or premiums), their reality as customers is prevailing.Customer service’s improvement; observed by all the studied indicators, is still unsatisfying forconsumers. 33% of surveyed declared themselves satisfied of hold-on time (against 27% in 2010),38% of having the possibility to solve problems without calling a provider (33% in 2012) and 39% ofhaving a single interlocutor to solve an issue (32% in 2010).Social networks and multichannel: unsatisfied expectationsThis inconstancy has another cause: social networks. If they have still little influence over buyinghabits in France (13% of customers consider provider’s presence on social networks as a buyingcriteria), 50% of French are willing to participate to innovation and feedback programs, whetheronline or by being in ambassadors groups.
On a biger scale, customers are complaining about bad multichannel management: 57% of surveyedpersons declared themselves frustrated of not being able to access facts about companies or to buy aproduct by “the channel they intended to”.Defection rate VS overall retention rateLastly, companies are sometimes focused on the wrong indicators to prevent customers’ departure:partial defection rate, showing customers’ leaving to another provider, not definitively and not for allthe services, but at a given time and for a particular service, is far too often neglected. “Whencompanies use their overall retention rate as an efficiency indicator, most of them are forgettingcustomers partially conquered by concurrence, making them unable to react in time.” Points outFabrice Marque, head of counseling in marketing, sales and customer service for Accenture Franceand Benelux.