$1.6 Trillion Up for Grabs: 3 Ways to Harness the ‘Switching Economy’
A lot can change in 10 years, but ask average consumers today and they’ll likely tell you that too much has stayed the same.
The recently released “Accenture Customer 2020,” (opens as a PDF) which measures consumers’ attitudes and experiences with marketing, sales and customer service practices during the past 10 years, reveals that while customer expectations have steadily risen, most companies have not been able to keep pace. As a result, the “Switching Economy” – the potential revenue up for grabs in the U.S. market due to changes in consumer spending patterns and switching rates – has swelled to $1.6 trillion, a 29 percent increase since 2010.
What’s behind this trend? One such factor is the increase of non-traditional competitors entering the market, with 34 percent of U.S. consumers saying they are open to purchasing products and services offered by non-traditional providers (e.g. retailers offering medical services, online providers offering banking services, etc.). Also at play is the fact that top customer complaints – contacting customer service multiple times for the same reason, being put on hold for a long time and customer service agents who can’t answer the questions – have remained stubbornly high for the past five years. Why should it be a surprise that more and more are looking for new providers?
The good news, though, is that while the Switching Economy presents a challenge for most businesses, it also presents opportunity – often the single-largest opportunity - for those organizations willing to make the investment to materially stand out with improved customer experiences. Here are three key takeaways to keep existing customers and win more than a fair share of new ones:
1. ‘Great’ Digital Experiences Aren’t ‘Great’ for Everyone. Today’s customer is often loyal to an experience – not a brand. When it comes to offering a good experience, there is no right “one-size-fits-all” approach. Instead, companies seize the advantage from providing their customers with the opportunity to customize and personalize. Some of the most ambitious strategies focus on wave after wave of segment-specific programs, using data and analytics to provide the right mix of digital and traditional channels for each segment vs. the something for everyone approaches of the past decade.