Before we all get to giving thanks and whatnot, let’s have a discussion about the stagnant state of consumer satisfaction. A new study on “customer rage” shows that people are really no more or less satisfied with how businesses resolve complaints. [More]
Rachel is sick of surveys and writes in to ask if we think they serve any purpose. [More]
Not only does Walgreens.com have a wide variety of “Sexual Wellness” products, from the usual lubrication and condoms all the way to vibrators and “Adult Toys for Men,” they’re really not holding back when it comes to the descriptions of each item, and why you’d be crazy not to buy them. [More]
There’s a new Consumer Reports survey out that ranks cellphone companies by customer satisfaction, and to pretty much no one’s surprise, AT&T comes in last in all 19 cities surveyed. (Verizon came in first.) As AllThingsD notes, the survey “suggests that AT&T’s shortcomings are more widespread than the carrier would have us believe and not simply the product of a high concentration of iPhones in the country’s larger cities.” [More]
You’re not alone hating Indian call centers. Indians hate them too, mostly because they get stuck dealing with an even lower caste of customer service representatives than Americans. The well-educated smooth talking CSRs get the prestigious jobs infuriating foreign customers, while the the untrained masses are paid basmati to cater to India’s domestic customers.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Congratulations, you’ve written the world’s most obvious headline!” And you’d be right, but according to J.D. Power and associates there could be something of a sea change going on in the universe of airline complaints. It seems that crappy customer service may have reached a Gladwellian “tipping point” — more customers are choosing which airline to fly based on factors other than price.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) dropped again for the second consecutive quarter to 74.9. Why does this matter? “When customer satisfaction declines, consumers have less enthusiasm for repeating experiences that no longer provide the same gratification,” says Professor Claes Fornell. AKA, they’ll be spending less money.
Did you know that if you keep 5% more of your customers, you will make 35-95% more profit? Those were the findings of a Harvard researcher* when he investigated the financial impact of keeping customers around. The chart above demonstrates how a 5% increase in retention rates increased profit across a variety of industries. The equation is simple: make us stick around (usually by making us happier) and we’ll make you more money. Cut out support, services, make it difficult to talk to you, etc, and while you might save in the short, you’ll lose in the long-term.
Mainly driven by higher food prices, the American Customer Satisfaction Index went down for the first time in two years of continual growth. The blip was minus .1%, still up 1% from a year ago. [ACSI]
Customer satisfaction with buying cellphones at stores fell this year, reports J.D. Power and Associates in the recently released 2007 Wireless Retail Sales Satisfaction StudySM-Volume 2.
American Express ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. They said there’s two types of customers. One is transactors, who pay their bill off in full each month and for whom membership benefits are the most important drivers of customer satisfaction. The other is revolvers, who don’t pay their bill off in full each month, and for whom APR and fees are the most important drivers of customer satisfaction. So if we flip this survey over….
A new market research study of over 3600 consumers has confirmed that there are some key things that will quickly erode any trust a customer has in a company: unethical behavior, bad customer service, and outdated products and services. The bad news is that the study was conducted in Europe, which makes us wonder if U.S. companies will pay any attention.
Business Week sent a couple of its own “secret shoppers” to some Wal-Mart stores to see how their new customer service initiative was faring, and found that the employees they spoke with not only didn’t care, but really wanted customers to know this. Said one employee, “If Wal-Mart doesn’t care for me, why should I care? There was this horrible smell in the store the last two days from some overnight spill. They did nothing about it. It got so bad that on the second day the fire department came by and we all had to wear masks.”
Does higher customer satisfaction lead to better stock performance?
Have you heard of Matthieu Laurette? From 1993 to 2001, he fed and cleaned himself by buying almost only products with “Satisfied or your money back” or “Money back on first purchase” items, then filing the rebates or writing to the companies and saying he wasn’t satisfied.
Based on your suggestions, we redid The Consumerist ACSI fund mock portfolio. We changed it from 100 shares to $1000 worth of each company, rounded down to whole shares. This way the highest stocks won’t have an undue influence on the portfolio’s performance.
Indian call centers live and die by the responses to customer satisfaction surveys. Customers selected at random are called by an outside agency and asked fifteen questions. Of those, the only one that matters is “Overall how would you rate the agent you spoke with?” Based on the answers to that question, the call center receives a weekly score on a 1-5 scale. The call center aims for 50% of respondents to rate them a 5, the highest, and for 85% to rate them a 4 or higher. From our experience, that seems like an unattainably optimistic goal.