The annual Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey measured the experiences of 24,489 customers in 33 countries and across 11 industries to examine consumer attitudes toward marketing, sales and customer service practices.
From this research, Accenture found that human interaction is still of the utmost importance to customers in regards to customer satisfaction, even in the current ‘digital age’. 83% of consumers surveyed reported that they prefer to interact with another human over utilizing a digital channel.
Accenture also found that 52% of customers have switched companies in the past year because of poor customer service interactions, costing companies in the United States an estimated $1.6 trillion.
From their findings, Accenture also concluded that human interaction is essential to a positive customer service experience. 45% of customers are willing to pay a premium in order to interact with another human when needs arise.
For example, Sephora rewards their best customers (those that spend $1,000+ in one calendar year) with a ‘private hotline’ which give customers access to a dedicated hotline to speak with a beauty expert at Sephora. Sephora is leveraging the desire of human interaction through customer service to encourage customers to spend more to be apart of this elite loyalty program.
“It takes months to find a customer….just seconds to lose one” – Vince Lombardi
How can companies work to retain their current customers?
Make customer service easier to find and faster. Accenture found that 73% of customers expected customer service to be easier to access and more conievent for them. 61% thought that receiving assistance would be quicker.
Once customers switch, 68% have reported that they will not return to the company. Almost all of those that switched also reported that the company could have made a change to retain them as customers, which shows that these companies need to change their current practices.