Even in a down economy, great customer service can boost sales, a study finds.
Customer service is more important than low prices when it comes to luring and keeping loyal customers, according to a new survey by Accenture.
More than two thirds of over 4,000 consumers surveyed worldwide said they've switched businesses as the result of a poor customer service experience, the New York-based management consulting firm reported this week. By contrast, just over half said lower prices lured them elsewhere.
The difference was even more dramatic among American consumers, with nearly 75 percent saying they've switched service providers due to poor service, compared to 47 percent who were drawn by lower prices.
The survey also found that customer loyalty continues to erode as consumer expectations rise.
Most respondents said they demand more from businesses than they did a year ago, and many said they will demand even more in the years ahead. Twenty percent of respondents said they would immediately leave a business as the result of poor service, up seven percent from a similar survey last year, the firm reported.
Still, the upturn in customer turnover can provide opportunities for business owners, according to Accenture Director Robert Wollan.
"Companies that can leverage sophisticated analytical capabilities to isolate what really matters to their consumers have the opportunity to quickly differentiate their service experience from that of competitors and grab market share," Wollan said in a statement.