Poor automated service a major source of churn

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on September 1, 2009

More than half of consumers (61%) claim to have abandoned an enquiry or purchase during the past twelve months because of poor automated service, according to a survey from contact centre operator The Listening Company.

The study of 2,000 consumers also found that 42% rated their most recent experience with a self-service facility as "average", while 16% thought that the service offered was poor.

A "successful resolution" (cited by 39%) was the most important factor overall for consumers when using a self-service facility, while those aged 18-24 tended to cite "speed of response" as being the most important factor.

But the key message for brand marketers, according to The Listening Company, is that 41% of consumers said they would feel more confident if offered help with self-service systems from a brand representative.

Company web sites were identified as the most popular tool for consumers researching a product or service before making an online purchase (70%), followed by comparison shopping web sites (48%) and friend, family or colleague recommendations (40%).

When asked about the primary role of a company's web site, brand representatives felt that consumers used web sites to research product information (50%) or to make an online purchase (50%). However, consumers considered the provision of product information to be the primary role of a company's web site (59%).

Half of the consumers surveyed (50%) said that they would feel more confident in switching to use a self-service facility unaided if they had initially been helped by a company representative. In addition, 50% said that being able to email a company representative would be valuable when using self-service facilities. However, for those aged 25-34, a web-based chat facility was considered most valuable (31%).

According to Philip Shuldham-Legh, director of communications for The Listening Company, "The internet is changing the way consumers behave and communicate, and it is making them more demanding and less loyal to brands. This is something companies must respond to, and brands can no longer dictate how they interact with consumers. Brands should use all customer touch points to educate consumers about the benefits of self-service without forcing them to use it."

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