April 8, 2015
Canadian companies are struggling to keep pace with the increasingly “always on” nature of their customers, their greater use of digital channels, and their growing acceptance of non-traditional providers, according to new research from Accenture. As a result, the “Switching Economy” – the potential revenue up for grabs in the Canadian market due to changes in consumer spending patterns and switching rates – has swelled to US$163 billion , a 16% increase since 2010.
The Canadian findings are included in Accenture’s 10 annual Global Consumer Pulse Research, which gauges the experiences and attitudes of 23,665 customers worldwide on marketing, sales and customer service practices. The survey included 1,215 Canadian respondents.
“The Canadian customer is tougher than ever before, and many companies aren’t doing enough to keep them,” said Berkeley Warburton, sales and customer service strategy lead for Accenture in Canada. “Customer experience is the new marketing, and expectations are higher than ever. While many companies have been chasing the opportunity digital brings, they have not addressed the root causes of the problems that are exposed when they don’t execute well. Companies have been focused only on ‘doing the same things better’ when these issues really require them to ‘do things differently’.”
Nearly two-thirds of consumers (62%) report that the number of brands they consider has increased significantly over the past 10 years, and 52%believe they are more likely to switch providers compared to 10 years ago. The study found that 82% surveyed use at least one online channel when looking for a new service provider, and over one-third (41%) want more digital interactions from providers. Only 38% of consumers strongly agree companies are effectively converging digital, mobile, social and traditional channels.
“We know that Canadians are amongst the highest internet users worldwide, we are selective, and savings-oriented. And with digital, the game just got faster,” said Warburton. “Now, a customer’s sense of loyalty to one brand is often overridden by another brand’s personalized and tailored experience. In fact, our research shows that some companies are opening the door to ‘non-traditional’ competitors, such as Netflix, who are often more willing to ‘do things differently’ and offer prospective customers more opportunities for customization.”
Many of the common consumer complaints and habits identified by the research have been ever-present for a number of years, indicating that many companies are not addressing underlying issues effectively. Failure to quickly resolve an issue continues to drive the switching trend, with little improvement reported over the past six years.