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Consumer Loyalty In the Internet Age

Published January 24, 2013
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In 2012, one in five consumers switched companies they patronize, including wireless phone, internet service and retailers, according to new Accenture study. This marks a 5% increase in switching over 2011 levels.

The eighth annual Accenture Global Consumer Survey found that 85% of respondents said companies could have done something differently to prevent them from switching.

The survey, which polled more than 12,000 consumers in 32 countries, found that among those consumers who would have stayed if their provider had acted differently, two-thirds (67%) pointed to having their customer service issue resolved during their first contact as a factor. More than half (54%) might have remained loyal if they had been rewarded for doing more business with their provider.

Retailers showed one of the largest rises in switching (22% switched, up from 16% in 2011) of the 10 industries covered in the survey. Only wireless phone companies and internet service providers topped it.

Broken promises are a top area of frustration for consumers, according to the survey, as 63% of respondents indicate it’s extremely frustrating when a company delivers a different customer service experience from what it promised.In addition, 78% of consumers say they are likely to switch providers when they encounter such broken promises.

Other frustrations that make consumers more likely to switch include having to contact customer service multiple times for the same reason (selected by 65% of consumers), dealing with unfriendly customer service agents (65%) and being on hold for a long time when contacting customer service (61%).

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