Customers are demanding greater product quality in tough times
In my last post I set out the key organisational attributes and barriers that organisations face in excelling at crafting and delivering a positive multichannel customer experience. But what do customers want? What matters most to customers? In Jodie Monger’s latest post she looks at the analysis performed on calls into call-centres (automotive, appliance, electronics indudstries) and points out that customers are demanding greater product quality in tough times. Specifically, she writes:
- Economic hardship is causing customers to seek to repair instead of replace products.
- There is a growing perception on the part of customers that things are no longer “made to last.”
What about efficient customer service and low prices?
I have been reading the Customer Experience Consumer Survey Report published by Econsultancy this month. Across five industries (Banking, Mobile Phones, Retail, Travel, Gaming) the attributest that matters most to consumers are:
- Efficient customer service
- Low priced products;
- High quality products.
Looking at these responses through the lens of my customer value formula this makes perfect sense. Efficient customer service increases value (for the customer) by reducing the effort involved in dealing with the company (buying, using, troubleshooting). Low priced products help the customer to make their budget stretch further. And high quality products increase the benefits received by the customer.
Let’s dig a little deeper to see what the variations were for some of the industries.
Banking – what matters to customers?
First of all I find it interesting that customers do not hold out the expectation that companies put their needs first. I interpret this as customers are living in the real world and they have a pretty good grasp of reality – most companies put their needs first and customers are used to that. However, that does not mean that you cannot differentiate yourself by putting your customers first. Remember that consumers were not asking for or expecting coloured computers – when Dell provided them their sales took off.
Second, customers are simply asking and expecting companies to get the basics right. Provide me with good value (product quality, price) and make it easy for me to do business with you – take the hassle out, save me time.
Third, the ‘fancy’ stuff that so many commentators focus on and which matters most to companies (joined up experience, consistent branding, relevant and timely communications) does not matter that much to customers.
Finally, never take consumer research at face value. Why? Because consumers are not that great at figuring out what really drives their purchasing decision and what really influences them. . If you were to ask consumers if advertising mattered and influenced them most would probably say no. Yet, advertising does influence hearts, minds and behaviour. If you spend time counselling people and you will be amazed at how little insight many of us have into our lives – what matters to us, what drives our behaviour.
What are your thoughts?