Barbara Hohbach
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December 21, 2005
Accenture Survey Finds That Customer Loyalty Can Be Lost In a ‘Click’

Internet Challenges Companies to Re-think Customer Relationships

NEW YORK; Dec. 21, 2005 – The Internet is making it easier than ever for consumers to research companies’ products and services and take their business to different companies when their expectations are not met, according to a recent study released today by Accenture.

The customer loyalty study, based on a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, found that the majority of consumers believe that the Internet makes it easier to change service providers. For instance, when asked why this is so, 61 percent of respondents said it was because the Internet gives them access to information about companies, their services and their competition online, and half (50 percent) said it was because the Internet enables them to actually purchase the products or services online.

“It’s more important than ever that companies get their customer relationships right, because with the Internet, breaking up is easier to do,” said Woodruff ‘Woody’ Driggs, managing partner for Accenture’s Customer Relationship Management practice. “Businesses that fail to meet customer expectations will likely find that losing disgruntled customers will have ripple effects as they share their experiences with others.”

For instance, while 63 percent of respondents said they would complain directly to a company about a service or product problem, an even greater number (68 percent) said they would tell family and friends about their negative experiences with those companies, and the same number said they would switch to a competing company following a bad experience.

Survey results indicate that the desire for a consistent balance between price, service and product quality also influences consumer decisions. For example, when asked to identify the main reasons they would change the company with which they do business, the greatest number of consumers -- 80 percent -- said lower prices, followed by the provision of better service (58 percent) and better products (48 percent).

“Consumers aren’t willing to take poor service on the chin, and they really don’t need to, given that the Internet makes it incredibly easy to identify other service providers,” said Driggs. “Creating a loyal customer base requires an intricate balancing act that companies need to perfect to sustain their business in a fiercely competitive market.”

The study also revealed the valuable benefits of sustained customer loyalty. When asked about businesses of which they are loyal customers, respondents said they would continue to make purchases from the company (82 percent), recommend the company to others (74 percent) and purchase even more goods or service from that company (48 percent).

International Communications Research, on behalf of Accenture, queried more than 1,000 U.S. consumers online in June 2005 to help evaluate the state of customer loyalty and satisfaction among consumers.

About Accenture
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 123,000 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