30 Nov 2012
Loyal customers are a thing of the past according to a survey commissioned by Kcom in association with the Customer Contact Association (CCA).
I'm not 100 per cent sure I agree.
This is - according to the survey - because most shoppers are more conscious of price than ever before, with 26 per cent opting for price and 24 per cent of those questioned opting for quality as the reasons for choosing to return to a company.
Interestingly customer service polled just 16 per cent of the vote.
Coincidentally the findings are aligned to results from a CCA member survey which reveals 44 per cent of organisations feel customers are becoming less loyal.
Mark Pritchard, business development director at Kcom, hits the nail on the head: "In this discount-led era customers are clearly more picky and price driven, because the market has allowed them to be so."
And quite right too I'd say.
He continues: “This study shows us that if what you’re selling is identical to that of your competition, the primary consumer driver will always be price. However, while customer service may not have come out top in the survey, it is still a deciding factor in why people choose one company over another. If you offer a low price, but a customer is unhappy with customer service, they are unlikely to return. Companies need to decide which area they can best compete on, while also keeping in mind the other two.”
Fully agree Mark, and it puts a lot of firms in a difficult dilemma. Do you invest in staff to provide great customer service, or do you cut costs at every corner so you can offer a cut price product?
When I'm shopping around for something in my consumer life - I do look at price, but if someone wows me with great customer service I am far more likely to go back to them, than if I was dealt with by some spotty kid that can hardly string a sentence together.
I'm sure that is the same for businesses on another level. Price of course is important, but the overall customer experience must be taken into account.
I think loyalty is still there at the end of the day, but companies just have to fight harder, and be more clever, to actually inspire it.