In the ramp up for Bozeman, Mont.-based on-demand customer experience management provider RightNow Technologies’ Summit 2008 here in Colorado Springs, you can expect many of the attendees to yearn for — and ask about — ways to continue to improve their companies’ customer experiences amidst an economy that has taken the country for a roller-coaster ride in the past several weeks.
Expect some more “on-the-scene” blog posts after some conversations with key executives and customers as the summit officially kicks off in a couple of hours with a keynote speech from RightNow Chief Executive Officer Greg Gianforte.
Nevertheless, there was a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive (and in the pursuit of transparency, sponsored by RightNow) on the impact of customer experience. In its third year, the study finds that the experience is becoming more important as consumers continue to demand the service bar to be raised.
Here are some highlights drawn from the poll of 2,112 United States consumers (age 18 and older):
- 87 percent will discontinue business with a company after a negative customer experience, an increase of 7 percentage points from 2007;
- 58 percent will “always or often” pay more for a better experience during a down economy;
- 84 percent of those polled will tell others about a bad customer experience, up 10 percentage points since last year; and
- 51 percent of consumers want the option of a live Web chat session.
What was particularly interesting was the way in which consumers react to poor service. According to the study:
- 26 percent have sworn;
- 17 percent have shouted;
- 9 percent have felt sick;
- 5 percent of males say they hit or break something; and
- 9 percent of females cry.
With customer service hubs becoming the first interaction touchpoint for many consumers, the study finds it is imperative for companies to ensure they are doling out the goods for both instant and future business success. Fifty-eight percent of respondents are “at least somewhat likely” to make a purchase during a service engagement. Additionally, outstanding service is the top reason respondents would recommend a company to someone else–coming in at 58 percent. Low prices and product/service quality came in second and third, respectively.
Now for the call to action. For the companies out there waging the war of customer service every single day, are these stats surprising to you? CRM magazine and other media publications have been writing about the customer experience for some time now, but is it really hitting home or is it just another nice-to-have for you at this time?