Canadian companies need to invest in analytical tools and expertise to generate the proactive and predictive insights for a more personalized experience for customers, according to a new report from Accenture Strategy.
Those customers are quietly slipping away with little ability to win them back.
Nearly half (49 percent) of Canadian consumers have switched providers in the past year due to poor customer service – most commonly from retailers, cable and satellite television service companies, phone companies and banks, according to Accenture’s eleventh annual Global Consumer Pulse Research.
Eighty percent of Canadian respondents who switched said they could have been retained before switching providers, in line with the survey’s global findings. Now that they’ve switched, there’s very little chance they will return, with 68 percent saying they will not return once they have left, compared to 58 percent globally, the survey shows. Further, only 17 percent of Canadian consumers posted negative comments online after a bad customer service experience, 11 percent less than the global average (28 percent).
“Canadians are known to be ‘silent switchers,’ which means they will just leave with no opportunity for the provider to ‘make it right’, or to understand and minimize churn,” said Berkeley Warburton, Managing Director, Advanced Customer Strategy, Accenture Strategy. “Fortunately, providers now have access to tools that proactively create a positive customer experience through seamless interactions across all channels, using predictive, prescriptive and cross-channel analytics that will figure out what Canadian customers want – before it’s too late.”
Analytics is only part of the solution for providers trying to retain business, because Canadian customers said they still want to maintain a human interaction, with 85 percent preferring to deal with a live person, higher than the average of 73 percent globally. This additional cost can pay off for providers, with more than half (53 percent) of Canadian respondents willing to be sold new or upgraded products when receiving a face-to-face service compared to online, compared to 45 percent globally.
Canadian consumers place a higher-than-average value on physical or in-store experiences, with 71 percent agreeing that in-store service is the best channel for getting a tailored experience, compared to 56 percent globally. Forty percent are willing to pay a higher price for goods and services if it ensures a better level of service, compared to 49 percent of global respondents.
The report reveals that there is huge room for improvement in the delivery of today’s customer services. Most (80 percent) Canadian consumers say that it is frustrating dealing with a company that does not make it easy to do business with them, compared to 73 percent of global respondents. Another 77 percent expect customer service to be easier and more convenient to obtain, versus 69 percent globally, and 65 percent expect it to be faster, versus 72 percent globally. Meanwhile, 60 percent report that if companies could provide customers with better live or in-person customer service, it would have impacted their decision to switch providers, higher that the global average of 52 percent.