Countering the Fall in Customer Satisfaction Rates
The latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) shows a worrying decline in customer satisfaction rates between July 2011 and July 2014, as revealed by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).
The survey of over 10,000 consumers showed that overall, customer satisfaction rates in the UK are on a downward trend, an issue that needs to be countered urgently. Of the top 50 companies nationally, only 10 actually made an improvement on their customer satisfaction rate from last year, with retailers John Lewis and Amazon coming top.
What’s going wrong?
The “Relationship” Economy
The decline speaks both of the low levels of service that companies are turning a blind eye to and an increase in what customers have come to expect. “Customer expectations are rising and their needs are changing more quickly,” CEO of the ICS Jo Causon stated. “In this environment, organisations must invest in customer insight and apply it with agility.”
Causon went on to describe the trend as a direct result of a “relationship economy”, wherein “long-term success is determined by the quality of interactions between customers, suppliers, partners and organisations”.
Causon’s grasp of the market is on-point, especially when you consider what the UKCSI revealed about consumer values. When asked what they valued most in a transaction, 60% replied that they valued price and service equally, seeking out a balance. 25% answered that they valued excellent customer service over low costs, stating that they would pay a premium to be treated well.
In contrast, only 15% of all the interviewed consumers indicated that they value pricing above customer service.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the report was that the stereotype of the “grumpy old man” didn’t really apply. In fact, the most dissatisfied demographic overall was actually the younger generation.
Being tech savvy seems to have brought contemporary consumers into a real comprehension of how their custom should be treated. Companies have to face the facts; the millennials know their rights, and will not stand for anything less.
Looking beyond that statistic, we can see a future market in which consumer expectations will continue to rise, suggesting an economy in which institutions who let their customer relationships slide simply don’t survive. Everything points towards the “relationship economy”.
The real question is, where does real estate fit into the future market, and how?
The increasing competition in the housing market has led consumers to feel pressured into buying properties as quickly as possible, in the belief that they won’t have another option.
As a result, all the processes in real estate are becoming increasingly expedited. The average time it takes to sell a house has dropped from nine to six weeks over the last year alone, according to the Telegraph, with research by Aviva revealing that people buying a home last year spent on average only 33 minutes viewing a property before purchasing it.
Efficiency is good, but not when it is at the expense of the customer. A lot of estate agents are taking advantage of the competitive market and are getting away with pressuring their customers into buying properties that they aren’t 100% satisfied with.
It’s time for someone to lead the way into the relationship economy. We believe that Newton & Co can reinvigorate the market by reaffirming the core value of customer experience, because those long-term connections are more important than sales figures.
That’s what really counts; we have the stats to prove it.