A study by Accenture found wide-reaching disparities in the perception of service between technology companies and their customers.
"Too many of these companies fail to realise the dire long-term repercussions of not making the proper investments in customer service, including missing out on millions of dollars in business opportunities," said Accenture's Communications & High Tech Practice, managing director for customer relationship management, Brett Anderson.
"This is a wake-up call that customer service should no longer be relegated to a mere instrument for extracting costs out of the business.
"Instead, this service should be a powerful and crucial investment target for accelerating full-throttle towards delivering high performance."
The research was based on interviews with senior executives at large consumer technology companies around the world, and a survey of 1,200 technology consumers in North America, Europe and Asia.
Accenture found that more than four-fifths of customers who rated their service satisfaction as 'below average' said that they will buy from a different supplier next time.
Many companies consider that they provide a much better service than their customers claim to be receiving.
Although three-quarters of executives said that their companies provide 'above average' customer care, more than half of consumers rated their satisfaction with customer service as 'average' or 'below average'.
"With so many technology products on a natural path to commoditisation, technology companies need to use customer service to differentiate themselves from competitors," said Anderson.
The research noted that, when consumers rate their service satisfaction as merely 'average', the likelihood of their buying again from the same company falls by almost half from 51 per cent to 27 per cent.
"Sharing negative customer service experiences, via word of mouth and particularly through the internet, has become a powerful weapon in the hands of consumers to damage companies that provide mediocre or bad customer service," Anderson concluded.
Consumer tech alienating
By Robert Jaques on May 22, 2007 10:14AM