On a global scale both customer satisfaction and customer qualities are changing, according to a new report from Zendesk.
The report “The Zendesk Benchmark Q2 2013 In Focus: Customer Self-Service” compares actual support performance results from 16,000 companies in 125 countries and highlights the following areas: how customer satisfaction has improved by country and industry, customer self-service and mobile trends in the self-service sector.
Customer Satisfaction By Industry, Country
In the second quarter customer satisfaction on a global scale reached 81 percent, which is a three percent increase from the previous quarter and a one percent increase from 2012. Zendesk says this is due to a change in consumer and business trends. Along with the customer being more satisfied with businesses, industries that had a low customer satisfaction rate, such as finance and insurance grew the most in this area. They experienced about a six percent increase ending the second quarter with a 77 percent satisfaction rate. Consumers also have more faith in the economy than they had in previous years, which led to a happier customer-business relationship.
While financial and insurance is near the bottom of the customer satisfaction list, education is at the top at 95 percent. Education is followed by IT services and consultancy, real-estate, government and non-profit, and web hosting. The bottom two industries were media and telecommunications at 73 percent, and social media at 64 percent.
When looking at this information by country, New Zealand finished in the top spot at 92 percent. The top five are rounded off by Canada, Australia, Norway and Denmark. The report also notes that despite being in the bottom two, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates do have something to be proud of: South Africa went from a 44 to 60 percent customer satisfaction rate since the last quarter and the United Arab Emirates saw an increase of five percent to finish at 58 percent.
Customer Self-Service is on the Rise
According to Zendesk the practice of customers who ‘prefer helping themselves’ or customer self-service is now at 67 percent, while 91 percent of those polled said they would use a company’s ‘knowledge base', such as frequently asked questions and how-to videos, if it was available to them and could meet their needs.
With this mind, there are two major trends that businesses should be aware of. The first is that consumers look to find a solution to their problem on their own or rely on online communities, like message boards, before calling a help-line or customer service center. The second trend is that more companies are starting to realize that self-service is a good move for both the customer and its business as it can, among other things, lower support costs and makes resources more available to high-value customers.
In the past a self-service rate, according to Zendesk, was measured by support agents, but this is also changing.
Given the shift in consumer preferences towards self-service and the growing focus on measuring customer experience, companies need new metrics to measure and benchmark their self-service efforts,” said the report.
Zendesk’s contribution is the Self-Service Score, a data metric that shows the level in which a certain company’s customers have self-service tendencies. The higher the score, the more self-sufficient these customers are. Leading the Self-Service Score list is social media with a 9.9, followed by software at 7.1, and manufacturing and computer hardware at 6.1. Education, which topped the customer satisfaction by industry list, came it at 2.4 and the industry with the lowest score was travel, hospitality and tourism with a 1.1.
A More Mobile Customer
Customers are not only becoming more self-sufficient, but they are also using mobile devices more often. The use of mobile devices has increased 50 percent in the last year, with 26 percent of self-serve customers from the polled industries using these devices. When looking at this trend Zendesk found that customers in the media and telecommunications field use mobile devices more, followed closely by social media. Education and web hosting costumers tend to use computers, while in the ‘other’ category the top industries are web apps, IT services and education.
Despite these differences, this mobile trend is something that businesses should keep in mind; if they don’t already along with the other changes mentioned.