Customers and companies out of sync when it comes to customer service

03 August 2017 Consultancy.uk

75% of company executives believe that their organisations are customer-centric, while just 30% of customers agree.The mismatch is even greater in the UK, at 85% of executives, and could be seeing companies missing out on major opportunities, with customers even willing to pay slightly more for improved customer services.

Strong customer service, rather than lip service, provides a range of benefits to organisations, finds a new report from Capgemini. The report, which is based on a survey of 450 executives and more than 3,300 consumers, explored the correlation between customer services and a range of metrics, including growth and net promoter scores.

According to the study, customer experience remains a key aspect of the wider business interactions, to the point that customers generally (81% of respondents), across segments, are willing to pay a little bit more if it results in an improved experience. With an ever climbing number of start-ups bringing fresh challenges to established market incumbents, companies can no longer rely on brand loyalty to survive. Customer service is one of the many ways firms can win an advantage over competitors.

The highest level of agreement stems from internet-based services, at 87% of respondents, followed by retail, in which 86% of respondents said that they would be willing to pay more for a better service. In consumer products, 81% said that they would pay more for better services. The least willingness to pay more was in the utilities sector, at 73% of respondents.

Consumers willing to spend for a better experience by region

The willingness to spend more for a better experience varied considerably by country however. In India and China the largest proportion of respondents were keen to spend more for a better experience, at 96% and 95% respectively. In the UK 82% of respondents said that they are willing to spend more for a better service, while in the Netherlands and Germany it falls to 72% and 61% respectively.

In terms of how much more, across the sectors surveyed, 41% on average said that they would be willing to pay up to 15% more, while 32% said that they would be willing to pay between 16%-50% more for a good experience.

Consumer and company perception of customer centricity

Mismatch in perceptions

According to the study, there is considerable mismatch between how customers see companies’ customer centricity and how companies rate their own performance. A recent survey of the banking industry found customer service related factors make up the following four reasons to switch service providers, with 21% of respondents saying they were attracted by a better online experience and functionality, 21% saying access to different products and services, and 21% saying an easy to set up account and 16% saying a better quality of services. With so much riding on customer experience in that case, this study sought to map customer centricity from customers themselves against the perception of the centricity from the companies involved.

The largest cohort, 56% of companies, reside ignobly in the box in which they consider themselves as highly customer-centric, while their customers don’t agree. 19% of companies are see themselves as highly customer-centric while their customers agree, while 11% of companies don’t see themselves as customer-centric but their customers think that they are. Around 15% of companies are relatively honest about their customer-centricity, it is low, while customers agree with them.

Consumer and company perception by customer-centricity by industry

In terms of sector, utilities are the most out of sync with their customers, 78% of companies believe that they are customer-centric while 7% of customers actually agree. Consumer products too has a high-level of mismatch, at 81% of companies thinking they are the bees knees, while 14% of their customers agree.

Internet-based services and retail banking are the most down-to-earth about their respective customer-centricity. 68% of internet-based services say that they are customer-centric, 56% of respondents agree, while in retail banking, 67% of firms say that they are customer-centric, while 42% of customers agree.

Consumer perception by country

The research too explored the differences per country. Interestingly, UK companies are the most out of sync with their respective customer base. 92% of respondents from UK companies have been convinced that their company is customer-centric, only 15% of UK respondents say that companies in the country are customer-centric. The French company respondents are a bit more realistic, at 70% saying that they are customer centric, although 0% of French respondents agree.

German companies are relatively positive about their customer-centricity, at 80% of respondents, while 50% of their customers on average agree. In the Asia-Pacific region, 79% of customers agree that companies are customer-centric, while just 63% of the companies agree.

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