RightNow finds UK consumers want service right now

Harris Interactive has recently released their “UK Customer Experience Report 2006,” and the results for CRM providers are… well, not so good. In spite of burgeoning CRM and the ever-increasing presence (and market share) of companies such as RightNow, salesforce.com and Siebel, a great majority of consumers in the United Kingdom report dissatisfaction with service.

Almost two-thirds of the British consumers polled in the extensive 2,300-poll survey indicated that they have ceased business with a company due to poor customer service; twenty-seven percent said they’d had such an experience and would not return. This trend in bad service flies directly in the face with consumer expectations: A full-on seventy-eight percent of those surveyed stated that good service is “extremely high” in importance, a rating that made it almost as important as price itself. Despite this, more than one-quarter of customer service experiences had been negative, according to those surveyed. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed stated that evidence of improvement in customer service would be necessary before they would return to a company that had previously dissatisfied them and almost fifty percent stated that an organization would have to prove it “valued their custom.”

Such evidence would be supported: almost eighty percent of those surveyed by Harris stated they would be “most likely, greatly or somewhat” to actually increase their custom, should consistently excellent service be provided. On-demand CRM vendor RightNow commissioned the survey, and comments from RightNow vice president of UK business affairs Wayne Foncette accompanied the results in press material. According to Wayne Foncette, RightNow’s UK vice-president, the long-standing issue of balancing cost and customer service remains unresolved. “We know that consumers vote with their feet and defect if the customer experience isn’t up to scratch; we also know that businesses are being mandated to control or reduce operating costs,” said Foncette. “It’s a Catch-22 situation: Either spend money to improve the customer experience or cut costs and risk losing customers.” Foncette went on to opine that “what’s needed is a breakthrough to resolve this service / cost dilemma that drives enriched customer experience across all key interactions.”

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