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Start Making Sense
Defining Customer Experiences that Enable
High Performance
Accenture 2009 Global Consumer Satisfaction R...
Many experts believe that, while the global economy may have turned a corner,
recovery will be prolonged and sluggish. Cha...
Each year, Accenture surveys several           more influenced by online information            Some of the mo...
Key Findings
Accenture surveys consumers around the       In fact, five of the 12 countries sampled      now higher or much...
Figure 1: How have your customer service expectations changed over time?

Expectations are increasing, particularly in eme...
What Do Consumers                              access customer service using multiple
Figure 3: How have your customer expectations increased (multiple mentions)?

     As a customer, I expect …
 Figure 4: Ho...
Figure 5: When you seek customer service, how do you go about getting assistance? (multiple mentions)

Channel preference...
Figure 6: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “The increased use of technology
in customer service has ...
Figure 7: In the past year, have you done one of the following after having a bad customer service experience?

Figure 8: Information sources consumers use to evaluate new providers.

Belgium were the most likely simply to       level of switching due to poor service      Reasons Why Consumers Leave
end t...
Figure 10: Percentage of consumers who switched any company in any industries
because of poor customer service over the pa...
Figure 11: When choosing among competing products and services, how much does the country where the
product or service com...
Industry Variations
Consumer Perceptions by Industry Sector
Where consumer perceptions are                              Du...
Age Matters
Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors by Age Group
 Upholding the conventional wisdom, our              expectation...
These findings highlight the critical        Putting Customers in Charge               Demonstrating State-...
and analyze a broader range of data—      practices, and the rapid emergence of        model, closely aligned to the disti...
About the Research
In 2009, we completed our fifth edition of this study, which
included 5,050 people. Participants—who wer...
Accenture 2009 Global Consumer Satisfaction Survey Report
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Accenture 2009 Global Consumer Satisfaction Survey Report


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Accenture 2009 Global Consumer Satisfaction Survey Report

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Accenture 2009 Global Consumer Satisfaction Survey Report

  1. 1. Start Making Sense Defining Customer Experiences that Enable High Performance Accenture 2009 Global Consumer Satisfaction Report
  2. 2. Many experts believe that, while the global economy may have turned a corner, recovery will be prolonged and sluggish. Changing consumer attitudes and behavior will play a key role in setting the pace of recovery and generating new opportunities for organic growth. This paper is one of a series of reports on consumer behavior during the downturn and beyond, based on recent in- depth Accenture research. In this paper, we highlight key findings from our most recent consumer satisfaction survey—an annual program—and offer recommendations for shaping customer service experiences that help capture and retain valuable relationships. Customer Satisfaction
  3. 3. Introduction Each year, Accenture surveys several more influenced by online information Some of the most successful practices thousand consumers on their customer obtained from other sources than by the we have seen used by high-performance service experiences. The key findings provider’s own print and online advertising businesses include: from this year’s survey highlight several or direct mail. These findings underscore interesting dimensions of current how consumers increasingly “control consumer/provider relationships. the conversation” in this time of digital configure service experiences to their own Companies eager to achieve or sustain transformation, and the new challenges specifications and preferences. high performance—in the current faced by marketers attempting to manage economic phase and in the upturn to corporate reputations and shape brand customers and the same service agents, to come—should strive to understand how perceptions in the marketplace. build lasting and deeper relationships. these issues are playing out in their own customer base, and make sense of the Given recent economic conditions, it is implications for future growth and the not surprising that in our global sample yourself” service options for all customers. impact on profitability. consumers who switch identified price as the most important factor when choosing For example, our research indicates that their replacement provider. It is surprising, customers and agents and between agents consumers are more demanding than however, how much influence a reputation and other front-line and back-office ever and that many companies are not for high-quality customer service has in employees, to direct the full force of the keeping pace, resulting in the highest this decision. In fact, consumers in the enterprise workforce toward delivering a level of switching due to poor customer emerging markets we surveyed identified satisfying customer service experience. experiences ever detected by this annual customer service as the most important survey (most notably for banks and factor when choosing a new provider. seamless integration of all service-channel retailers). Moreover, across industries, The survey found other interesting customers, and with robust business consumers perceived little change in geographic variations. Consumers in intelligence and analytics tools that how hard providers worked to keep their emerging markets—an important growth accurately predict customer preferences business. opportunity for many companies—are and behavior. No set of industry providers managed to generally less satisfied than those in By continually raising the bar for customer deliver a very satisfying experience to more mature markets with service quality. service, customers across industries and than half of their customers–hotels and Their service expectations are increasing countries are also intensifying performance retailers came closest. Yet retailers also more rapidly and consumers are more challenges for companies everywhere. experienced the highest level of switching, likely to have recently switched providers However, Accenture believes organizations pointing out yet again that customer because of poor service. Generational that recognize they need not be all things satisfaction scores are weak indicators of differences also emerged. Younger to all people and, consequently, deliver loyalty and future business. consumers have higher expectations than differentiated service experiences when those of older generations, and are more At the same time, consumers also appear and where it matters most will be best likely to switch providers when their less apt simply to exit a relationship positioned to outperform their competitors expectations are not met. immediately when they experience poor and achieve high performance in the service. Responses to this year’s survey Accenture believes that these findings, upturn. indicate they are more willing to take which are described in more detail in the other actions—asking to speak to a body of this report, show how imperative supervisor, for example, or calling back to it is that enterprises finally leave behind reach a different representative. However, the “one-size-fits-all” approach to a very large majority tells others about customers, and fully embrace a service their bad experiences and a significant model that provides differentiated service number make negative comments online, experiences based on the expectations and demonstrating the damage unhappy requirements of individual—and closely customers can do even when they stay. understood—customer segments and the current and potential value of those Similarly, when evaluating alternative segments. providers to switch their business to, consumers rely most on information obtained through word of mouth and are Accenture 2009 Consumer Satisfaction Report 3
  4. 4. Key Findings Accenture surveys consumers around the In fact, five of the 12 countries sampled now higher or much higher than they world annually about specific aspects rated the quality of service they received were five years ago. Moreover, 59 percent of the customer service experience, from most companies above the global of consumers in these countries maintain including: average: 3.62 on a 1 to 5 scale, an their expectations are higher than they increase from 3.57 in 2008. Consumers in were just 12 months ago. the United States were the most satisfied with the quality of service received, Expectation vs. Experience: well providers are meeting them with an average of 3.74 for 2008 and The Performance Gap 3.83 for 2009. In contrast, South African As customer expectations increase, consumers were the least satisfied (3.22) companies seem to be falling short, this year (they were not part of the despite the improved perception of sample in 2008), and German consumers, service quality. In fact, just two in five In 2009, we surveyed 5,050 consumers in who were the least satisfied in 2008, global consumers said companies meet 12 countries. In this report, we highlight were the second lowest for 2009 (3.36). their expectations frequently or always. our key findings and the implications Furthermore, the percentage of consumers Consumers in mature markets rated of changing consumer attitudes and whose expectations were frequently or service quality significantly higher than behaviors for business performance. always met has declined from 53 percent those in emerging markets (3.66 vs. 3.47). In fact, three of the four emerging-market in 2007, to 45 percent in 2008, to just 40 Consumer countries (Brazil, China and South Africa) percent in 2009. Against the backdrop Expectations Are were below the global average. The exception was India, which joined the of ever-growing service expectations, companies must be concerned about this Higher than Ever United States, Canada, Australia and the widening gap (see Figure 2). United Kingdom in rating service delivery Are Companies Keeping Underscoring this point, only five of above the global average. the 12 countries surveyed rated the Pace? frequency with which companies met France, in particular, has experienced an On the whole, consumers around the their service expectations above the increase in customer satisfaction, with world perceive the quality of customer global average. Consumers from India, the proportion of respondents providing service to be good, although this Canada and the United States were positive ratings steadily increasing from perception varies significantly by country. among these, with more than 50 percent just 39 percent in 2007, to 54 percent However, a closer look suggests that indicating their expectations were in 2008, to 60 percent in 2009. Brazil companies are failing to build close frequently or always met. In contrast, improved as well, going from 44 percent ties to their customers. In fact, most consumers in the emerging countries in 2007 to 53 percent in 2009. consumers do not feel companies are of South Africa, Brazil and China were satisfying their expectations for customer much less likely to say companies always Evolution of Consumer service—particularly in emerging or frequently met their expectations (26 Expectations markets—and those expectations are percent to 28 percent). increasing (see Figure 1). While respondents perceive service quality to be improving, their expectations seem Current Perceptions of Service to be rising faster. Generally, consumers Quality have much higher expectations today than they did five years ago. In fact, their Globally, the majority of consumers we expectations have increased significantly surveyed described the quality of the during just the past 12 months— customer service they experienced as particularly in emerging markets. good. In fact, although perceived service quality among respondents in China More specifically, 75 percent of consumers continues to decline (44 percent in 2007 from the emerging markets of South to just 35 percent of survey respondents Africa, India, China and Brazil reported this year), in most other countries this their customer service expectations are perception has turned upward over time. 4 Start Making Sense
  5. 5. Figure 1: How have your customer service expectations changed over time? Expectations are increasing, particularly in emerging markets Compared to 12 months ago Higher compared to 12 months ago 80% 76% Emerging 10% 30% 44% 15% Markets 54% 42% 41% Mature 10% 25% 5% 34% 31% 31% 60% 29% 29% 28% Markets 19% Much/slightly lower The same Slightly higher Much higher China India Singapore South Brazil Germany Belgium France United United Australia Canada Africa Kingdom States Compared to 5 years ago Higher compared to 5 years ago 89% 87% 80% Emerging 14% 11% 36% 39% Markets 59% 56% 55% 52% 52% 51% 50% Mature 42% 40% 18% 31% 34% 17% Markets Much/slightly lower The same Slightly higher Much higher China India Singapore France Germany South Brazil Belgium United Australia United Canada Africa Kingdom States Figure 2: How often do companies meet your customer-service expectations? Consumers’ in emerging markets are far less likely to Globally, consumers’ believe that their expectations are feel their expectations are being met than consumers being met has declined over time. in other regions. Emerging 2009 9% 50% 38% 2% Markets 2009 11% 57% 29% 4% 2008 8% 47% 43% 2% Mature 8% 48% 41% 2% 2007 5% 42% 49% 4% Markets 2009 Rarely/Never Sometimes Frequently Always Note: All figures in this report showing year-on-year trends Countries sampled in 2008: Australia, Brazil, Canada, reflect the following sample compositions. China, France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom and Countries sampled in 2009: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, the United States (N= 4189). Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Singapore, Countries sampled in 2007: Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States China, France, the United Kingdom and the United (N= 5050). States (N= 2311). Accenture 2009 Consumer Satisfaction Report 5
  6. 6. What Do Consumers access customer service using multiple channels and to obtain service at the list of issues consumers find most frustrating—and also tend to encounter Care About Most? convenient times. with some frequency. And Are They Getting Expectations for Service Globally, consumers are most frustrated with being kept on hold for a long time What They Want? Representatives when contacting customer service and While consumers have many expectations Regarding the people who provide by having to contact customer service for customer service, they care most customer service, the most important multiple times for the same reason. about how well-informed and personable factors to customers are being served Each of these experiences was cited their customer service representative is, by workers who are polite and friendly, by more than 60 percent of consumers how fast and efficient customer service knowledgeable and well-informed, as “extremely frustrating” (see Figure is, how often they are referred to another and who already know the customer’s 4). Furthermore, nearly half said they service agent and how long it takes a history (why he or she is calling, for encounter such a situation “a lot.” company to resolve their issue. Similarly, example). Yet approximately one-third while consumers demand more from of consumers said they are dissatisfied Indeed, we found that consumers many aspects of customer service, they with agents’ knowledge of their history generally are impatient when it comes are most likely to expect service to be with the company, which compromises to spending time getting service issues more convenient and speedy, and to the service experience. resolved. In fact, 60 percent or more expect their customer service agents to of the global sample are unwilling to be more knowledgeable. spend more than 30 minutes to have How Expectations Have their concerns addressed. Consumers While companies are performing well Changed over Time in Brazil, Belgium and France are the in some areas—in fact, satisfaction has Consumers who expect more from their most impatient, with more than 55 improved slightly between 2008 and customer service experience are looking percent only prepared to spend up to 2009—they still have ample room for for four specific things: more convenient 15 minutes. Conversely, consumers in improvement in all areas, including customer service (74 percent), more Canada, the United Kingdom, South those areas consumers perceive to be knowledgeable or better-trained Africa and the United States are the most important. representatives (67 percent), faster most patient, with more than 30 customer service (66 percent) and more percent of consumers willing to take as General Expectations for channel options for getting service (64 long as necessary to get their customer Customer Service percent). In comparison, consumers are service issues resolved. least likely to expect that the customer Overall, the perceived importance of representative who serves them will Beyond wait time, multiple customer all dimensions of service remained know more about them. Despite the handoffs are a major frustration, with substantially the same between 2008 and economic downturn, being offered more most consumers willing to speak to just 2009. In both years, when asked which options for handling their personal two people to resolve their issue. Only general aspects of customer service were finances is also less important, relative one in four are willing to speak to as most important to get right, respondents to other factors, for consumers in most many people as necessary. This level overall tended to identify issues associated countries—except South Africa, where 51 of tolerance is more pronounced in with time: how fast customer service is, percent expect more of such options. mature markets. In particular, Canada, how long it takes a company to resolve the United States, the United Kingdom, their issue and convenient availability Also on the topic of regional differences, South Africa and Australia are the only of service. Each of these was cited by expectations are increasing more among countries where about one in three between 56 percent and 60 percent of consumers in emerging markets across consumers will speak to as many people respondents as “extremely important.” In nearly all aspects of the customer as required. Less than one in six in the comparison, access to environmentally experience. (see Figure 3). remaining countries is willing to do friendly options was the least important the same. For instance, 71 percent of customer service criteria, but still Top Causes of Consumer consumers in France are unwilling to relevant to a sizeable number of survey Frustration speak to more than one person. participants. In addition to having high expectations The single least satisfying aspect of for many aspects of customer service, service is the amount of time consumers consumers are frustrated by a range have to wait before they are attended of service hassles. Lengthy hold to (32 percent satisfied vs. 33 percent times, dealing with multiple agents dissatisfied, for an average rating on the same issue, having to repeat of 2.97). In contrast, consumers are information, representatives without most satisfied with their ability to answers and rudeness are foremost on 6 Start Making Sense
  7. 7. Figure 3: How have your customer expectations increased (multiple mentions)? As a customer, I expect … Figure 4: How have your customer Higher compared to 12 months ago Higher compared to 5 years ago 74% service expectations changed Easier/more convenient to obtain 75% compared toservice customer 12 months and five 75% 73% 93% years ago? China 68% 67%China 89% Customer service representatives 80% 89% 70% to be more knowledgeable 67% 61% 85% India 76% India 85% 66% Faster customer service 48% 61% 48% Brazil 44% Brazil 76% 76% Average: 41% 71% 64% 3.64 More options for obtaining3.44 3.25 3.93 service 23% 59% Germany 34% 62% France 48% 5% 67% 59% 15% 17% 34% 39% Specialized service39% being a 25% for France 22% Germany 23% 31% 36% 34% good customer 47% 27% 27% 34% 44% UK 31% 25% UK 25% More options for handling 29% 27% 29% my personal finances 40% 23% 23% 60% 36% USA 19% 16% Australia 16% Customer service representatives 29% 29% 17% Global 2009 to know more about me 60% 23% 31% 31% 30% Australia Mature Markets 22% USA 22% Other 30% 3% 28% Emerging Markets 28% 4% 1% 21% 21% 10% 10% 14% 16% Canada 24% Canada 24% 19% 19% Emerging Mature Emerging Mature Base: Respondents who Marketsraised Markets Markets Markets have their expectations for customer service. 12 Months Ago 5 Years Ago 2007 2008 2009 Figure 4: How frustrating do you find the following aspects of customer service? Being on hold for a long time when contacting 1% 3% 12% 21% 63% customer service Having to contact customer service multiple 1% 3% 12% 22% 62% times for the same reason Having to repeat the same information to 1% 4% 13% 22% 60% multiple customer service agents Dealing with customer service agents who 2% 5% 15% 17% 62% are unfriendly or impolite Dealing with customer service agents 1% 3% 13% 25% 57% who cannot answer my questions Having to talk to multiple customer service agents 1% 4% 15% 26% 54% while trying to resolve a single question/issue Running into business policies that get in 2% 5% 18% 27% 49% the way of my goals Being sold other products or services when 2% 5% 18% 24% 50% I contact customer service Running into technology issues that get in the 2% 6% 20% 28% 44% way of my goals Having to wait for a response after I’ve 2% 6% 23% 34% 35% requested customer service Having to complete a lot of paperwork or 3% 9% 27% 28% 33% electronic forms Not being able to understand information 4% 11% 27% 30% 28% the company sends me Not frustrating at all 2 3 4 Extremely frustrating Accenture 2009 Consumer Satisfaction Report 7
  8. 8. Figure 5: When you seek customer service, how do you go about getting assistance? (multiple mentions) Channel preferences by economic region Channel preferences over time Call for 84% 84% assistance Call for 87% 85% assistance 85% 66% Send an email 51% 61% Send an email 63% 65% Search the 44% internet 52% 30% Extract info from Company’s website 42% Go to the place 41% 42% of business 42% 34% Company’s 40% Go to the place of business 47% website 49% 41% 15% Engage in live 13% Send a letter 6% online chat 17% 20% 2007 15% 2008 Live online chat 13% 35% Send a letter 19% 2009 Mature Markets 13% 4% Tap into blogs Emerging Markets Search the internet 46% 9% Not included in Text messaging 5% 2007 and 2008 3% surveys Text messaging Blogs or online 14% social networks 5% Many consumers likewise are unwilling satisfaction. Moreover, consumers a smaller proportion of consumers to follow up on a customer service around the world increasingly feel globally reported having gone to issue; only one in three will follow up technology is significantly improving a physical location when seeking just once before giving up. Another the customer experience. At the customer service, preferring to take one in three will try two or three times, same time, the digital transformation advantage of more virtual or convenient while the remaining third will actually of the customer experience entails ways to connect with the companies keep following up until they get what considerable risk: These channels also they do business with, such as emailing they need. Consumers in the United amplify the effect of poor customer customer service, which has increased Kingdom, Canada, the United States, service. In fact, one quarter of significantly in popularity in China and South Africa and Australia are the most respondents have used these channels France since 2008. determined to resolve customer service to relate their negative customer issues no matter what it takes, while experiences to others (see Figure 5). Though emerging markets prefer those in Singapore are the most inclined calling for assistance to sending an to not follow up at all (although just 5 email, they also are much more likely Migration to Digital Channels percent say this). than mature-market consumers to All countries sampled make the most use new technologies for contacting use of calling for assistance when service providers—especially text Digital seeking customer service. However, messaging and live online chats. In Transformation digital channels such as email, text messaging and online chats are also fact, just 29 percent of emerging- market consumers, vs. 72 percent of popular among consumers in emerging Do You Know Where Your markets, and are being used with those in mature markets, indicated they have never used text messaging to Customers Are? growing frequency by consumers in access customer service. Similarly, only When they need assistance, consumers mature markets. 22 percent of consumers in emerging still are most likely to prefer talking to markets, compared with 48 percent in a live agent over the phone. However, Our research confirms online mature markets, said they have never digital channels are gaining ground in technologies indeed are gaining ground used live online chats for service. terms of frequency of use and consumer as service channels. In the past year, 8 Start Making Sense
  9. 9. Figure 6: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “The increased use of technology in customer service has improved the level of service significantly in the past five years”? Globally, consumers are increasingly positive about the Consumers in emerging markets tend to be more positive about impact of technology on the customer service experience. the impact of technology on the customer service experience. Emerging 2009 14% 25% 47% 14% Markets 2009 5% 10% 54% 32% 2008 20% 27% 40% 13% Mature Markets 2009 17% 30% 45% 8% 2007 22% 28% 40% 10% Strongly Somewhat Somewhat Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Agree Despite having reported they receive in the past five years. In contrast, Australia (a 13-point drop), Germany (a poorer overall service and that their German, Australian and Canadian decline of nine points), and Brazil and the expectations are met less often, consumers are the least convinced there United Kingdom (each of which registered emerging-market consumers are much has been an improvement with the a slide of eight points). These figures more satisfied than their mature-market increased use of technology. In fact, all likely indicate not only that consumers counterparts with online self-service; of the mature-market countries scored are becoming more comfortable using and, telephone customer service is under the global average with regard technology tools to access customer highly regarded in China and India. to agreement that technology has service, but also that companies However, on a global basis in-person significantly improved customer service. themselves are doing a better job customer service at a place of business employing such tools to improve, rather or a store is the general type of service However, despite the mature vs. emerging than hamper, the service experience. with which consumers are most market split over whether the increased satisfied. In comparison, automated use of technology has improved levels How Digital Media Affect telephone customer service receives the of customer service, an overall global Reputation lowest rating across all geographies. increase in agreement is noted for 2009, suggesting technology is turning a corner Of course, consumers spread the word in terms of becoming more of a help than about their experiences with providers The Impact of Technology on to other people, and today they have a hindrance in consumers’ eyes. In fact, Customer Satisfaction more powerful and efficient tools for the global percentage of consumers who Consumers in emerging markets are agreed technology has improved service doing so. Our research confirmed this highly likely to agree that the use of has increased by eight points from 2008 shift: Nearly nine in 10 consumers technology in customer service has to 2009, and by 11 points since 2007 (see globally told the people around them significantly improved the service Figure 6). about their bad experiences. Consumers levels they experience. In fact, more in emerging markets, especially South than 84 percent of emerging-market This shift also can be seen in the Africa, China and Brazil, are the most consumers in Brazil, India and China substantial decreases during the past inclined to speak to others about bad and 71 percent in South Africa agree three years in the percentage of those experiences. Furthermore, one in six that such an improvement has occurred who strongly disagree that technology consumers has complained to a larger has been beneficial, most notably in Accenture 2009 Consumer Satisfaction Report 9
  10. 10. Figure 7: In the past year, have you done one of the following after having a bad customer service experience? 98% The vast majority of consumers share negative customer South Africa 31% service experiences with others, and many—particularly 97% consumers in emerging markets—use online channels to China 44% broadcast these experiences. 97% Brazil 49% 93% Singapore 30% 93% 89% Australia Total 18% 25% 92% India 33% 87% Mature 89% Markets United Kingdom 21% 22% 87% Emerging 96% Canada 16% Markets 40% 86% United States 20% 85% Belgium 17% 82% Germany 17% 82% France 23% Told people around me about the experience (e.g., friends, family, coworkers) Posted negative comments about the experience online (e.g., blogs, Facebook) audience via online sites such as Facebook or blogs (see Figure 7). When Service year asked to speak to a supervisor when they experienced bad customer service Falls Short (41 percent vs. 43 percent) or ended the Globally, one-quarter (25 percent) interaction and tried to reach a different of all consumers will go as far as Do Companies See agent (19 percent vs. 14 percent). In posting negative comments about bad the Full Impact? contrast, fewer customers simply quit experiences online. This figure rises to two doing business with a company (16 in five (40 percent) in emerging markets A bad customer experience has implications beyond negative word percent vs. 23 percent). as a whole. The countries with consumers most inclined to do this are Brazil (49 of mouth. When first experiencing In fact, speaking to a supervisor was the percent) and China (44 percent). poor service, consumers are most most common response to bad service in likely to ask to speak to a supervisor. all countries this year. This is particularly Another sign of the growing impact However, 16 percent told us they went true in the mature markets we surveyed, of digital media: consumers collecting so far as to stop business with the where nearly half of our respondents information about potential new offending provider immediately—in reported taking this action compared providers reported relying on corporate some countries, as many as 28 percent with 37 percent of respondents in websites more than any other source of the respondents took this drastic emerging markets. However, there are except people they know—and say they action. In fact, overall poor service some notable differences among these are more influenced by these sites than quality remains the number one force mature markets: Among all countries by any channel except people they “pushing” customers into the arms of surveyed, consumers in the United States know (see Figure 8). waiting competitors. (58 percent) and Canada (56 percent) were most likely to ask to speak to a Immediate Responses to supervisor; consumers in Germany (25 Poor Service percent) and Belgium (22 percent) were In 2009, consumers experiencing bad least likely. customer service were generally more While asking for a supervisor is most tempered in their reactions compared common, other responses to bad with previous years (see Figure 9). For service are evident around the globe: example, slightly more consumers this Consumers in China, Singapore and 10 Start Making Sense
  11. 11. Figure 8: Information sources consumers use to evaluate new providers. 80% Information from people I know 68% 66% Corporate website 45% 54% Print advertising 32% 48% On-premise/in-store information 40% 48% Online advertising 25% 46% Paid advertising on TV or radio 29% Online information from 44% other sources 31% 29% Direct mail or telemarketing 21% What information sources respondents used (multiple mention) Arrows highlight discrepancies of >20%, How important these surces were in their decision process between usage and (Important/Very Important) importance Figure 9: When you have a bad customer service experience, which of the following are you most likely to do? Responses to bad customer service experiences: All customers By country 2009 9% 13% 16% 19% 43% United States 6% 6% 11% 19% 58% Canada 6% 7% 14% 17% 56% 2008 8% 15% 23% 14% 41% Australia 5%7% 19% 21% 48% 2007 9% 8% 15% 19% 49% United Kingdom 8% 15% 13% 16% 48% South Africa 9% 15% 16% 14% 47% Emerging vs. mature markets India 9% 20% 9% 17% 44% Emerging Markets 2009 11% 16% 19% 18% 37% Singapore 15% 15% 15% 18% 37% Mature Markets 2009 9% 12% 15% 20% 45% Brazil 8% 14% 28% 21% 28% France 14% 15% 27% 16% 28% End the encounter China 17% 15% 21% 19% 27% Send a formal complaint to the company Quit doing business with that company immediately Germany 12% 20% 11% 33% 25% End the encounter and contact back later Belgium 15% 18% 20% 25% 22% Ask to speak to a supervisor Accenture 2009 Consumer Satisfaction Report 11
  12. 12. Belgium were the most likely simply to level of switching due to poor service Reasons Why Consumers Leave end the contact when encountering a occurred in the retail (31 percent) and Providers bad customer experience. Consumers banking (27 percent) sectors. According to our findings, respondents in France and Brazil were the most who left providers during the 12 months likely among all countries to stop doing In comparison, the lowest level of switching occurred in the life insurance prior to the survey were most likely to business with a company immediately. have left due to the overall poor quality And consumers in Germany, Belgium (9 percent) and airline (8 percent) sectors. Even more encouraging is the of the customer service they experienced and India were the most likely to send a (62 percent). After customer service, the formal complaint to a company. fact that switching due to poor service declined for some industry sectors in a most often cited reasons were finding number of countries. a lower price elsewhere (48 percent) Defection Due to Poor Service service representatives who lacked the Even when consumers do not switch Consumers in emerging markets were knowledge they expected (46 percent) immediately, companies face significant far more likely than those in mature and finding a lack of customized consequences from delivering unsatisfying markets to have switched providers (87 solutions (38 percent). customer experiences. In fact, according percent vs. 64 percent). For example, 81 percent of consumers in South Africa, Mature markets appeared to be to our findings, two in every three global 85 percent in India, 88 percent in Brazil more sensitive to the overall quality consumers switched providers in at least and 93 percent in China left at least one of the experience compared with one industry in the past year because of provider in the past year because of poor emerging markets, where consumers poor customer service. This is the highest service. At the other end of the spectrum were more focused on the availability level of switching ever reported in our were consumers in the United States, of customizable solutions or the survey (see Figure 10). where only 56 percent of consumers knowledge of the service representative. More precisely, 69 percent of all switched companies in the past year consumers in 2009 switched providers at because of poor service. Compared with Reasons Why Consumers Choose least once during the past year because our 2008 survey, switching was relatively New Providers of poor customer service. This represents constant in all countries except France It is not surprising that when consumers a two-point jump from 2008 and a and Canada, where switching increased do decide to leave a company, price 10-point leap from 2007. The highest 23 points and nine points, respectively. and service are the two biggest 12 Start Making Sense
  13. 13. Figure 10: Percentage of consumers who switched any company in any industries because of poor customer service over the past 12 months. Switching over time All respondents: Emerging vs. Mature Markets Global 2009 31% 69% Emerging 13% 87% Markets 2009 Global 2008 33% 67% Emerging 10% 90% Markets 2008 Global 2007 41% 59% Mature 36% 64% Markets 2009 Mature 40% 60% Did not switch Switched Markets 2008 Switching over time By Country China 2009 7% 93% China 2008 5% 95% Brazil 2009 12% 88% Brazil 2008 10% 90% India 2009 15% 85% India 2008 14% 86% South Africa 2009* 19% 81% Belgium 2009* 23% 77% Singapore 2009* 24% 76% France 2009 25% 75% France 2008 48% 52% Australia 2009 33% 67% Australia 2008 36% 64% Germany 2009 36% 64% Germany 2008 36% 64% United Kingdom 2009 36% 64% United Kingdom 2008 36% 64% Canada 2009 37% 63% Canada 2008 46% 54% United States 2009 44% 56% United States 2008 45% 55% Where increase or decrease * New countries sampled Did not switch Switched of switching between 2008 in 2009. No trend data & 2009 is > 5% available Accenture 2009 Consumer Satisfaction Report 13
  14. 14. Figure 11: When choosing among competing products and services, how much does the country where the product or service comes from matter to you? For the most part, I prefer to give my business to 74% companies that are based in my own country 76% 66% When choosing between products and services, I think 71% about this issue more than I used to, but I’m still more 69% still more likely to decide based on other factors 75% I don’t care that much where a company is from, but I 58% do care where the products I’m considering have been 55% manufactured 65% Which country produced a product or service that I’m 52% considering does not matter to me 48% 66% I like to try products and services from other countries 44% 37% 63% Global 2009 Mature Markets Emerging Markets factors influencing their choice of a (76 percent vs. 66 percent). This is determined the consumers most likely replacement provider. This does vary especially true among consumers in to switch were those who were least somewhat by region: Customer service Australia (85 percent), the United States satisfied with the following factors, in was the most common differentiating (84 percent), France (81 percent) and order: factor in emerging markets when Canada (81 percent). choosing a new service provider, 1. Convenient availability of customer whereas consumers in mature markets In comparison, emerging markets seemed service. made these decisions based more on to care more about where the product 2. The amount of time they wait to be price. Regardless, price has increased in is manufactured: Two in three of these served. importance globally between 2008 and consumers (63 percent) indicated they 3. How polite, friendly and 2009, no doubt because of the current like to try products and services from knowledgeable customer service economic conditions. other countries, compared with only representatives are. two in five customers (37 percent) in Beyond service and price, another factor mature markets. Consumers just about High levels of frustration among these also appears to have some influence everywhere, though, admitted they are respondents also play a role. A similar over the companies consumers choose thinking about these issues more than regression to the one just described to do business with: where the company they used to (71 percent). showed that these respondents were that provides the product or service most often frustrated by (in order): is located. Three in four consumers Factors Influencing Loyalty globally said they prefer to give business 1. Being on hold for too long. Not surprisingly, consumers who switched to companies based in their own 2. Having to repeat the same providers in the past year because of country (see Figure 11). information to multiple customer a poor customer experience were less satisfied than consumers who stayed loyal service agents. This sentiment is, however, more prevalent in mature than emerging across all dimensions of customer service. 3. Dealing with customer service markets: Consumers in mature markets representatives who are unfriendly or What are the factors that discouraged impolite. are more inclined to give preference to loyalty? A regression analysis of the companies based in their own countries respondents in our global sample than those in emerging markets 14 Start Making Sense
  15. 15. Industry Variations Consumer Perceptions by Industry Sector Where consumer perceptions are During the past year, many providers level is retail, with 45 percent of concerned, the Accenture 2009 reported making customer satisfaction consumers responding to the survey Customer Satisfaction Survey found and retention their top priorities, to indicating participation. In the other leaders and laggards in customer service protect revenues during economic industries we examined, the number of quality. recession. Their efforts appear to have respondents who participated in these been lost on many consumers, according programs was far lower—between 9 Our respondents put hotels and retailers to our survey. While results vary by percent and 26 percent. at the high end of the performance industry, most of our respondents spectrum, and located life insurers, said they perceived no real changes in Nearly half of the consumers in mature cable companies, utilities and phone customer service (see Figure 12). markets reported participating in companies at the opposite end. Notably, retailer loyalty programs, compared with however, fewer than 50 percent of Formal programs to build customer only 34 percent of those in emerging all consumers globally described loyalty may be having limited impact markets. In addition, mature-market themselves as “very satisfied” with as well. Between 39 percent and 49 consumers were much more likely than customer service quality. Moreover, the percent of our respondents believe their emerging-market counterparts percentage of very satisfied consumers loyalty programs are effective at to have taken advantage of loyalty was less than 50 percent in every persuading them to continue doing programs in the other nine industries provider category covered in this survey business with a company—particularly included in our study. Consumers in (airlines; banks; hotels; Internet service hotels and retailers. However, less than Germany, Austria and France were the providers; landline, wireless and mobile one in four respondents participated in least likely to be won over by such phone companies; life insurers; retailers; any loyalty program in the past year. The programs. and gas and electric power companies). industry with the highest participation Figure 12: How consumers perceive customer service: The industry view How satisfied are you overall with the level of To what extent do you feel that companies in the following industries customer service delivered to you by companies have changed their customer service efforts in the past 12 months? in the following industries? Hotels 4% 49% 47% Retailers 3% 8% 46% 33% 11% Retailers 6% 51% 43% Banks 5% 9% 45% 30% 11% Internet service Internet service 13% 48% 40% 4% 9% 49% 28% 10% providers providers Wireless/cell phone 12% 49% 39% Wireless/cell phone 5% 8% 52% 26% 9% companies companies Banks 14% 49% 38% Hotels 3% 5% 60% 25% 8% Cable/satellite television 4% Airlines 11% 52% 37% 8% 56% 24% 8% service providers Home telephone Home telephone 15% 51% 34% 5% 9% 55% 23% 7% service providers service providers Utility companies 14% 52% 34% Airlines 5% 7% 58% 22% 9% Cable/satellite television Utility companies 6% 11% 60% 18% 6% 14% 53% 33% service providers Life insurance providers 13% 54% 32% Life insurance providers 4% 7% 70% 14% 5% Not satisfied at all (1 to 3) Satisfied (4 to 7) Very satisfied (8 to 10) Doing much less to keep my business Doing slightly less No change Doing slightly more Doing much more to keep my business Accenture 2009 Consumer Satisfaction Report 15
  16. 16. Age Matters Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors by Age Group Upholding the conventional wisdom, our expectations regarding the knowledge consumers were also more prepared to survey found that younger consumers and training of service representatives follow up as often as it takes to resolve had higher service expectations, were and were less enthusiastic about the their issue. less tolerant of bad service, preferred role of technology in customer service— technology tools that help them although they were generally more Not surprisingly, given their impatient streamline the service experience satisfied with service quality overall. For nature, younger generations appeared to and were much more likely to switch their part, younger generations were be more inclined to switch providers as providers when their service expectations more satisfied with service provided by a result of bad service. Indeed, three in were not met. more innovative methods such as online four Generation X and Y members have chat or self-service websites. switched because of poor service in the The expectations younger consumers past year—compared with 64 percent of have for customer service have also Younger consumers also appeared Baby Boomers and 52 percent of Seniors. been increasing at a much steeper to be less patient about waiting for rate compared with older generations. customer service issues to be resolved. When choosing new providers, younger Younger buyers were also less likely They reported being unwilling to wait consumers said they focus on a larger to believe providers meet their more than 15 minutes for a resolution, number of considerations than other expectations. In particular, younger whereas one in three older consumers generational groups did, including generations had significantly greater said they were prepared to wait “as price, customer service, convenience expectations of speed and multi- long as it takes.” Similarly, two in three and promotions. They were more open channel options for obtaining service. younger consumers were willing to than older consumers to trying products They were also more positive about speak only to one or two service agents, and services from other countries, and the impact of technology on customer whereas older consumers were more said they use a wider range of sources service improvement. In contrast, Baby willing to speak to as many people to collect information about potential Boomers and Seniors had much higher as necessary (see Figure 13). Older providers. Figure13: Resolving customer service issues: Generational differences Typically, the amount of time I’m willing to spend Typically, the number of people I’m willing to talk on getting my customer service issue solved. to while trying to resolve my customer service issue. Global 2009 36% 27% 10% 3% 25% Global 2009 28% 39% 6% 24% 3% Seniors 35% 24% 9% 2% 31% Seniors 15% 44% 5% 33% 3% Baby Boomers 34% 24% 9% 3% 31% Baby Boomers 24% 37% 6% 31% 2% Gen X 38% 27% 9% 3% 23% Gen X 30% 39% 7% 21% 3% Gen Y 37% 31% 11% 3% 18% Gen Y 32% 38% 7% 18% 5% Up to 15 minutes Up to 30 minutes Up to an hour 1 person 2 people 3 people As many people as necessary Several hours As long as it takes Prefer not to talk to anyone if there are alternatives 16 Start Making Sense
  17. 17. Recommendations These findings highlight the critical Putting Customers in Charge Demonstrating State-of-the-Art role that customer service experiences One way an enterprise can meet the in “Do-It-Yourself” play in retaining customers, and even in service expectations of a diverse Over the past decade, customers have attracting new ones. They also highlight customer base is to enable customers grown not to simply accept self-service how increasingly difficult is it for to configure their own experience. but to expect and even prefer it. For companies to keep pace with rising and As consumers’ needs and behaviors instance, many air travelers now prefer changing expectations and satisfy the continue to diverge and fragment, to check in and print their boarding widely varying expectations, needs and enabling them to have more influence passes from their home computers or attitudes of customers, not only from or even control over how they interact airport kiosks rather than waiting for country to country but also from age with a company can go far toward personal service from a counter agent. group to age group. building close, lasting relationships As consumers’ familiarity with self- Marketing-savvy companies have long across the generational and geographic service channels increases so will their understood that different customers spectrum. For instance, a company expectations for speed, convenience and desire different things and value them may decide to enable its highest-value personalization. At minimum, companies differently. Yet while this knowledge has customers to choose for themselves must keep pace with these expectations informed their marketing strategies, it which channels they will use to and, at best, offer highly differentiated has had less influence on later stages obtain service, which service agents experiences that will be difficult for of the customer lifecycle. In this time they want to interact with and which competitors to match or best. of heightened cost pressure, rapidly service options they expect to be changing market dynamics and consumer offered. The company might enable Making Collaboration a Focus of values, companies can no longer afford customers in other tiers to choose from Innovation a “one-size-fits-all” model for customer predefined “service bundles” or direct Many companies will find that fostering service. They must shift toward a more their transactions toward lower-cost more collaboration—with external customer-centric model—creating and channels. customers, between employees, across delivering value-based, differentiated value-chain partners—a more and service experiences that result in Letting Familiarity Breed Loyalty more powerful tool for differentiating predictable buying behavior and loyalty. Customers tend to prefer businesses service. Emerging collaboration that make them feel welcome— technologies have the potential to Differentiated service experiences not something difficult for large improve the speed and quality of service only help to make service more relevant enterprises to do in ways that feel interactions dramatically. Picture, for and attractive to customers, but they authentic. One way to foster this example, a field technician who can also help companies to more effectively feeling is to enable customers to build transmit a video image of a customer’s marshal limited service resources. In personal relationships with specific broken device to the home office, other words, companies need not try to service personnel, through repeated where product experts diagnose the be all things to all people, but should interactions over time. For instance, problem quickly and relay precise repair rather strive to make smart decisions when a customer expresses satisfaction instructions. Or, imagine a call-center about what makes the most sense with the technician who installed his agent and an end-user having a three- for themselves and their customers. home theater system, the company way phone conference with a product This involves satisfying as much as should send the same technician the engineer about how best to configure possible the expectations of customers next time the customer needs service. the customer’s home-computing system. who matter most while setting the Companies may even enable customers Such examples illustrate in real terms appropriate service expectations for to contact preferred agents directly how companies can turn the old adage lower-value customers immediately at through email or Short Message Service that customer satisfaction is everyone’s the time of purchase to dramatically when they need help or information. job from a business principle into real help reduce the incidences of Customers who feel strong connections business practice. dissatisfaction. to service agents may perceive the cost of switching to be simply too high to All these practices depend on Some of the most successful practices defect to other providers. maintaining seamless integration across we have seen used by high-performance all the channels customers use to businesses include the following. obtain service. They also require robust business intelligence and analytics tools that enable companies to gather Accenture 2009 Consumer Satisfaction Report 17
  18. 18. and analyze a broader range of data— practices, and the rapid emergence of model, closely aligned to the distinct including customer actions, preferences digital media and social networking, to needs and preferences of the most and product-usage information. name only a few. valuable and profitable customers and These capabilities make it possible to prospects, while providing customer understand the customers’ true value to The hurdles for maintaining high service experiences appropriate to less- the company, predict customer behavior performance—so closely tied to engaged or less-profitable segments. more accurately and identify innovative customer acquisition and retention— The result may be a better return on ways to engage customers in future look especially steep for companies customer service investments—in terms interactions. seeking to gain or grow their presence of customer loyalty, preference and in emerging markets. Consumers in advocacy—and high performance over The findings from the Accenture 2009 these locales demonstrated lower the long term. In the digital era, when Customer Satisfaction survey indicate satisfaction levels, more rapidly any service misstep can quickly become many businesses across many industries increasing service expectations and a a public relations nightmare, achieving continue to fall short of consumers’ greater likelihood to switch providers. the right alignment between service and heightened expectations and to suffer If those companies also cater to the segment is not simple but is possible from consumers’ increased willingness coveted younger segments of society, through the combined power of data, to leave providers that fail to meet the challenges continue to mount: analytics, workforce talent, operational these expectations. Younger customers have higher design and performance management. expectations than older ones; those Besides responding to the steady expectations are rising at a faster pace; erosion of customer loyalty, companies and the younger set is more likely to must also deal with the fallout walk away when dissatisfied. from significant economic, cultural and technological changes, such as Faced with so many and such varied consumer’s renewed sense of thrift, the challenges, aiming to be all things to all imperative to adopt more sustainable customers is unlikely to be a winning strategy. High-performance businesses will embrace a more differentiated 18 Start Making Sense
  19. 19. About the Research In 2009, we completed our fifth edition of this study, which included 5,050 people. Participants—who were surveyed via the Internet from June 19, 2009, to July 17, 2009—represented 12 countries, the largest number in the five years we have been conducting this study. Participating consumers also span the age spectrum, with approximately 30 percent representing Generation Y, 30 percent Generation X, 35 percent Baby Boomers, and seven percent Seniors. Country N Generation N Australia 302 Gen Y 1483 (Less than 31 years old) Canada 306 Gen X 1427 France 300 (31 to 44 years old) Germany 302 Baby Boomers 1786 United Kingdom 1003 (45 to 63 years old) United States 1006 Seniors 354 (64 plus years old) Belgium 304 Singapore 300 Total 5050 China 302 Brazil 316 India 304 South Africa 305 Total 5050 Accenture 2009 Consumer Satisfaction Report 19