Accenture Poll Finds Services Offer Key to Success for Consumer Technology Companies
NEW YORK; Sept. 20, 2006 – While consumer enthusiasm for the newest digital products remains strong, a new Accenture survey reveals that commoditization, frustration with complexity and limited relationships with retail buyers present significant challenges to the future strength of major consumer technology brands. However, the survey also shows that new and enhanced service offerings can be the key to building brand loyalty.
According to the survey, interest in technology services is high, and a majority of those surveyed is willing to pay for offerings that improve the customer experience with advanced digital technologies.
“While the survey clearly reveals the significant challenges facing the consumer electronics industry today, it also shows that there is strong consumer demand for enhanced customer support and other service offerings that can overcome the current confusion and frustration, “ explained Al Delattre, global managing director, Accenture Electronics & High Tech industry group. “This presents a clear opportunity for leading companies to develop the bundles of products and services that can deliver a truly satisfying and exciting customer experience.”
The survey of 10,000 consumers in North America, Europe and Asia found that:
- The vast majority believe that technology has made their lives easier (78 percent) and more fun (76 percent)
- Price outweighs other purchase criteria by almost two-to-one
- Consumers are frustrated with complexity, with 43 percent stating that they’d prefer to buy a single-use product or service that does one thing well
- More than half (54 percent) of the respondents want best-of-breed products and services rather than a single source for related products and services
The findings represent the first segment results from a multi-part global online poll conducted by Accenture in Spring 2006 concerning consumer attitudes toward the digital home.
According to Delattre, the survey findings suggest that consumers want support that meets their emerging needs by helping them set up and use all the features and functions of a new product, as well as additional services that deliver seamless connectivity through the integration of devices, services and content including movies, music, and video.
“Digital technologies increasingly are moving into the lives of mainstream consumers who are embracing these products and services as part of what can be described as an emerging digital lifestyle – where use of these technologies has become seamlessly integrated with how we all live and work,” said Delattre. “But unlike the technophiles who were the primary market for these products in the past, today’s mainstream buyers do not have the same degree of technical knowledge to cope with the complex installation, setup and troubleshooting that these products often require – and this survey indicates they have no desire to become their own technicians.”
The Accenture survey shows that the major consumer technology brands are facing significant issues which they need to address in the years ahead. The survey found that:
- Twenty percent of consumers have returned a technology product in the last two years, citing poor product quality (38 percent) and missed functionality expectations (19 percent) as the main reasons
- Poor customer service (11 percent) and a failure to work with other products and services (15 percent) were cited as leading reasons for product and service dissatisfaction.
- Consumers are not convinced that manufacturers understand the customer and are committed to providing quality service
- Only 35 percent of respondents said they believe that electronics manufacturers understand how consumers use technology.
- The vast majority (82 percent) would not go the manufacturer for help, primarily due to inconvenience
The potential reward, however, for companies that deliver a satisfactory customer experience is quite significant. For instance, two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents said that product brand supersedes store brand, indicating that brand equity for manufacturers is still key.
“Good customer support yields customer loyalty to your brand,” said Delattre, citing the survey finding that nearly three out of four consumers agree that getting good customer support makes them more likely to buy from the same company in the future.
The online survey was conducted by TNS for Accenture and was fielded in April and May of this year. About 800 to 1,600 consumers were polled per country. Consumers in the United States and eight other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China participated in the overall online poll. Additional results of the Accenture survey will be released later this year.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 133,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$15.55 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2005. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
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