Photo by Watchcaddy licensed under Creative Commons.

When CX Research Doesn’t Reflect The Real World Of Customers

The Engine Group has published New research with data from 1,000 UK customers. It features the top ten UK brands for customer service and experience – based on feedback from these customers. Some of the more interesting findings from this study are:

  • 62% of customers said that brands should focus on simpler, more flexible, and more affordable customer service options
  • 58% said that brands need to train their customer-facing staff better or give better incentives to encourage better engagement
  • Only 22% positively support automation with tools such as chatbots
  •  68% will recommend a brand because of the quality of the customer service, but only 28% would provide that same recommendation because of price
  • Only 15% said that brands should be focusing on voice-assisted retail despite analysts suggesting that this is about to explode into a $40bn a year industry by 2022
  • Only 17% wanted personalised recommendations from brands

The top ten brands according to this study are:

1.     Amazon

2.     Lloyds Bank / John Lewis

3.     Tesco

4.     Marks & Spencer

5.     British Airways

6.     Sainsbury’s

7.     Santander / Barclays / Nationwide

8.     Premier Inn / Apple

9.     Sky

10. Virgin / Halifax / Vodafone / ASDA

I did say that some of these findings are interesting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the information is reliable or informative. At Praxidia we talk to hundreds of thousands of consumers each year and because of our close relationship with Teleperformance we see exactly how consumers are behaving in over 70 countries.

I don’t think this study takes into account how customers are behaving or what they are asking for when unprompted – and this is a big problem in research studies. Many customers don’t actually know what they want, you need to study their behaviour rather than ask a direct question. Apple demonstrated this when they launched the iPad. They launched a new product that was radically different to anything else on the market and created a need for tablet devices – no customer was asking Apple to build them.

There are three main problems here in my opinion:

  • The brands are almost all clustered into retail or banking. I think this is probably unrealistic if you consider all the brands that people interact with on a daily basis. However if you ask a prompted question about customer service then most people are likely to remember their last visit to the bank or supermarket.
  • Amazon doesn’t give precise sales figures for the Echo, but analysts suggest that the Amazon Echo and Google Home voice-controlled systems sold about 4 million units in the UK last year alone. That is just 2017. I cannot believe that voice-controlled systems are not about to become very important for customer service directors.
  • Personalisation is one of the most important themes I keep hearing from our research. Some retail customers even feel ignored in the in-store environment because it does not feature any of the personal elements of the app or online experience. To suggest that only 17% are interested in a more personal service sounds like a profound error.

Praxidia has its own detailed research on customer attitudes for most industries. Leave a comment here with your thoughts on this study or get in touch with me direct to request some of our research.