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I'll take my business elsewhere: three quarters of Irish people switch service providers

The value of Ireland’s ‘switching economy’ is thought to be around €13 billion annually.

Image: Shutterstock

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS that 72 per cent of Irish people have switched providers at some stage after a poor customer service performance.

The Global Consumer Pulse research, which is conducted by Accenture, showed an increase of 11 per cent in the last year in the amount of people willing to shop around.

Accenture estimated the value of Ireland’s ‘Switching Economy’ to be around €13 billion, or around 16 per cent of consumers’ annual disposable income.

The report also shows that Irish people are becoming more digitally savvy, with many willing to switch in pursuit of a better online experience, while they are simultaneously becoming more worried about how their personal information might be used.

Dissatisfaction reigns

Fewer than one-third of customers now say that they are happy with the service offered by their providers, down to 31 per cent from 36 per cent last year.

The decline is mirrored in the amount of people who are willing to buy more products or services from the same provider dropping to 12 per cent from 17 per cent last year.

Consumers are less likely to recommend a product or service to a friend, with that figure coming down to 18 per cent from 22 per cent.

The most vulnerable providers to switching behaviour are retailers on 33 per cent, followed by banks (19 per cent), internet service providers (16 per cent) and telephone providers at one per cent.

Accenture head of customer & marketing services Rebecca Gilmore said that many companies are struggling to retain customers in an economy that is becoming increasingly difficult to predict.

“Changing customer behaviours and low levels of customer satisfaction are fuelling a switching economy that presents opportunities for some companies and threats for others; too many companies are playing not to lose instead of playing to win.”

Web behaviour

Nine out of ten respondents to the survey said that they made use of at least one online source to learn more about a company’s products and services.

The shift online carried through from purchases to customer service, with three quarters of people plumping for the speed and ‘access-anywhere’ nature of web-based support.

However, Irish companies are lagging behind their users when it comes to adapting to the web, with only 13 per cent of consumers saying that Irish companies are good at “aligning new technology with traditional interactions.”

Gilmore said: “Irish consumers are inherently mobile and naturally social.”

Switching column: In our daily lives, we can form powerful campaign groups to demand change>

Can you guess how many of us switched current accounts last year>

About the author:

Jack Horgan-Jones

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