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.

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I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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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