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'How 'm I Doin'?' Not So Great When It Comes To Customer Care, Says Millward-Brown

Most consumers want brands from which they purchase products and services to use mobile channels for customer care, whether that means deals, promotions, updates, announcements, reminders, or queries. But brands have a much different idea of how well they are doing in customer care, regardless of platform, than do their customers. 

Millward-Brown Digital looked at both consumer and company perceptions on customer service in sectors like retail, healthcare, financial, insurance and telecom/cable/utility. The firm polled 1,650 mobile phone users in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Over 1,000 of them have an account or interact with a company in the retail, healthcare, financial services, insurance, and/or telecom/ cable/utility industry. The firm also polled 550 people who work in a customer service marketing role or higher in those industries. 

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Based on a 1-10 "Care Factor" scale, only 36% of polled consumers think brands are doing a good job in customer care, while 73% of businesses think they care well for their customers. And 67% of businesses think their customers are satisfied while only 47% of consumers actually say they feel satisfied. And in every category the firm surveyed, it found businesses predict higher scores than consumers allocate.

In all of the sectors the study looked at healthcare seems to make customers feel better, with 44% of them saying healthcare companies provide great care; 41% of consumers say retail provides great care; finance is at the industry average, 36%; 33% of insurance customers say the industry provides great care; and only 28% of telecom/utility/cable customers feel they are getting good customer service and communications from those companies. 

The communications channel that matters most is mobile, as 86% of consumers say they want to hear from companies that way. Of the 14% who don't, most cite privacy issues. But per the study, only 58% of companies use mobile to engage with customers. Fifty-three percent of consumers say they are very satisfied with apps and email communications. Test messages follow at 50%, and 46% of consumers are very satisfied with the phone calls and social as communication channels. Games and push notifications are only at 40%. 

When companies reach out to consumers via mobile, it's a good idea to use email -- the preference for 57% of consumers. Email, in fact, is used by 73% of polled companies, while 55% of companies use texting, 56% use calls, 54% contact customers via social, and 42% via apps. But businesses are over-optimistic: they think, for example, that 79% of consumers rate their communications with them through game platforms at 5 or 6 on the scale but only 40% did. "Businesses miss the mark in every [mobile] category," says the report.

Among companies that don't engage with consumers on mobile, 47% said it wasn't the best means for them; 39% said it was a technology issue; 16% said privacy was the problem; 13% said it is too expensive; and 10% said it was too invasive.

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