Consumers Still Like To Do Business In-Person

I recently published a report called How Consumers Research, Buy, And Get Service that looked at data from nearly 5,000 U.S. consumers. We asked consumers about the channels they use when researching, buying, and getting customer service. As part of the analysis, I compared the data to a survey that we did in late 2005. Here’s some of what we found:

  • In-store satisfaction continues to dominate. In 2005, consumers were the most satisfied with in-store interactions for researching, buying, and getting service. The same is true in 2007. Satisfaction rates for in-store interactions also increased over the last two years, making the largest jump in customer service.
  • Web site satisfaction increased, but only slightly for researching. Consumers were more satisfied with the Web for all three types of interactions in 2007 than they were in 2005. But the increase in satisfaction rates for research, was much lower than it was for buying or getting service.
  • Email satisfaction is on the rise. For all three activities, consumers were considerably more satisfied in 2007 than they were in 2005. Satisfaction rates went up 10% for researching, 13% for buying, and 14% for getting customer service.
  • Phone self-service remains a problem. In 2005, the satisfaction rates for phone self-service lagged behind most of the other channels. But the problem has actually gotten worse. While satisfaction rates have mostly increased for all channels over the last two years, consumers are actually slightly less satisfied with phone self-service for researching and buying.

The bottom line: Your front-line employees matter; treat them well.

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

2 thoughts on “Consumers Still Like To Do Business In-Person”

  1. Thanks for posting these findings. I guess I’m a little surprised that web research has not kept pace with web transactions. I feel like I’m using the Web much more than in the past to compare prices and get facts before I make my online purchase. There’s an enormous amount of content to mull over. Perhaps your first bulletpoint tells the story. We still value our interactions and relationships with live sales and support staff over a web site, regardless of how cool it is.

  2. Andy: I think that the relative “issue” with research is likely that it’s become a main stream activity. So it is more prone to dissatisfaction from a broader group of people who do it and an expanding set of expectations. Designing an online buying experience, for instance, is much more straightforward than an online researching experience. And the ability to get service online has definitely improved since 2005.

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