Commentary

You Don't Love Me Anymore

According to a new study from The CMO Council with LiveTechnology, big deficiencies in post-purchase service, and satisfaction for buyers of consumer durables, threaten long-term loyalty. Nearly 35% of North American homeowners surveyed rate product manufacturers as poor or needing improvement. Only 17% of consumers think manufacturers and retailers are extremely good at caring for their customers after a sale

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 The study, entitled “Product Ownership: Lasting Satisfaction or Painful Distraction,” reveals that 60% of homeowners rate their post-purchase experiences with manufacturers as underwhelming, and 56% were disappointed with service from retailers and eCommerce sites.

The ownership experience should be a critical brand differentiator and revenue generator for both manufacturers and retailers, says the report. Yet only 17% of North American consumers believe brands truly care about them after the point of purchase, an accurate reflection of the importance that acquisition-centric marketers place on the aftermarket service and support that drive to solidify satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.

 Insights were gathered from more than 2,000 North American consumers by Pollfish in the second quarter of 2017. The online poll was conducted in May 2017 and asked about the post-purchase experience specific to any home appliances, power tools, electronics and other durable products acquired during the previous 12 months. 

The results confirm that the aftermarket ownership experience remains dramatically under-served by most retailers and manufacturers in a landscape in which chief marketers are more focused on demand generation, customer acquisition and product sales, despite the fact that the aftermarket has shown to be a lucrative area of ongoing value creation, revenue growth, higher profit margin, relationship building, referral and customer enrichment.

 Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council, says “… while moving product is the focus of many manufacturers and retailers… the post-purchase ownership experience is frequently overlooked and under-served… given the cost of acquiring customers and the desire to maximize customer lifetime value… the aftermarket should be an area of strategic focus for marketers…”

Overwhelmingly, the study reveals that both manufacturers and retailers are failing to integrate and unify their efforts, and reflect a poor understanding of what satisfies and sustains lasting and valued relationships with customers.

Other key findings from the Customer Ownership Experience Audit reveal that:

  • A substantial half of homeowners believe retailers and manufacturers are disappointing in their care for customers after purchase. Only 17% rate their ownership experience as “extremely good,” and 30% say their ownership needs are cared for only “pretty well”
  • 46% of homeowners say efficient installation and delivery are the most important elements of the post-purchase experience, just behind a well-designed and easy-to-use product (47%), and ahead even of product reliability (36%) 
  • Encouraging news for brick-and-mortar retailers: 53% of homeowners sourced their goods from department stores, 43% from a home goods superstore and 34% from an electronics superstore, while only 28% say they used eCommerce channels 
  • 38% of respondents say they are most frustrated by retailers who don’t support or service after-sales products, and another 28% are most frustrated with retailers who won’t accept returns or warranty claims

One in three consumers does not register purchased products or return warranty cards, says the report, putting them virtually out of reach of aftermarket post-purchase engagement. 36% find the terms of returns and warranties confusing or complex while 16% actually discard paper receipts, manuals and records.

 Wayne Reuvers, CEO of LiveTechnology, concludes by noting that “Technology is changing the way companies interact with their customers… consumers are looking for a single application to manage all the items they own and access information… Brands now have the opportunity to manage this public facing material…”

Most striking, says the report, is the mutual win-win proposition that emerges in the post-sales process where retailers and manufacturers hope to monetize enduring post-purchase relationships, and where consumers are quite prepared to pay for quality parts, service and upgrades.

 For additional information on the product-ownership experience, please visit here.

 

 

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