The New Realities of “Dating” in the Digital Age: Are Customers Really Cheating, or Are You Just Not

Accenture 2011 Global Consumer Research Study

The rise of the tech-savvy generation, unstable economic conditions, and the impacts of globalization make attracting and keeping customers increasingly complex. But adapting your tactics to keep digital- age customers in a relationship with you is even more challenging.

In fact, as the results of Accenture’s 2011 Global Consumer Research Study show, consumers around the world are giving off mixed signals at a time when keeping consumer relationships strong is more critical than ever to providers. On the one hand, consumers claim they are more satisfied with the companies they do business with. Yet on the other, they feel less loyal to companies, increasingly switch providers and shop for better deals as their expectations continue to rise.

In other words, as consumers continually reevaluate their choices of providers takes yet another puzzling turn, the rules of customer acquisition and retention are changing again. Satisfying customers, providing more competitive pricing, offering more compelling products, or even delivering better service are no longer sure-fire ways to gain and lock in customers. Today’s unstable economic conditions only add to this complex picture as almost half of consumers profess that in the current context, they find themselves much more likely to be shopping around for the best deal—even if it means leaving current providers.

What then, is the key to sustainable, profitable growth from a customer base that becomes harder to understand and is more inclined to “cheat” on their current providers with each passing year?

Our study suggests some specific ways companies could change the tide. In particular, we found that five critical points of customer engagement could have a major impact—positive or negative—on a customer’s continued business with a company. We also found that most companies appear to be unaware of these relationship junctures and how their own actions are affecting customers.

By pointing today’s analytic capabilities at yourself, you can help identify these blind spots and develop an understanding of the behaviors, needs and expectations of individual customers at these vital points in the relationship. In the following report, Accenture provides a roadmap for change. We have divided the strategy into three steps to help companies tip the balance of customer spending significantly in their favor, on their journey to high performance.