At the end of October 2011, Customer Relationship Metrics published its quarterly Real-time Customer Experience Benchmarking Report to business partners. One of the more interesting findings that emerged from analysis of the benchmarking data was a relatively unexplained spike in problem-related calls to contact centers that provide support to the automotive, appliance, and electronics industries after the point of sale. The percentage of calls in which the customer is calling because of a (perceived) problem is a Key Indicator about the customer experience and operational costs for our business partners, especially in benchmarking, because it speaks to the relative level of challenge inherent in the calls handled by the call center, and therefore the call center’s opportunity to perform, delight, resolve, and retain customers during that time period. An increase of the magnitude seen in the figure below represents a significant “hardening” in doing business for our partners.
Analysis of unstructured customer comments in the Survey Calibration process revealed two primary drivers to this trend:
- Economic hardship is causing customers to seek to repair instead of replace products.
- There is a growing perception on the part of customers that things are no longer “made to last.”
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