The 'switching economy' puts $5.9 trillion up for grabs

Customers are increasingly switching companies because of poor customer service. That means lots of money is available to companies that can attract them with better services.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor on

For companies around the world there are literally trillions of dollars worth of revenue up for grabs in what Accenture calls, in a new report, the "switching economy."

According to the ninth annual Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey, which surveys consumer attitudes toward marketing, sales and customer service in 32 countries around the world, consumers are feeling more empowered to stop doing business with, say, a mobile phone provider or any other company if the customer service isn't meeting their expectations.

Last year, there was a four percent jump -- from 62 percent to 66 percent -- in the number of people switching a company globally because of poor customer service. That's a big increase from the 49 percent of people who switched in 2005 when the first survey was conducted.

The top five industries which see the most changes by customers are: consumer goods retailers (28 percent), retail banks (20 percent), Internet service providers (18 percent), wireless phone companies (17 percent), and landline phone companies (14 percent).

Those are the industries that have the best opportunity for taking advantage of the estimated $5.9 trillion worth of revenue that's available worldwide from consumers switching companies.

“Growth is harder to come by in many sectors but the switching economy presents a source of new, sustainable, profitable growth for companies that are playing to win and gain market share," said Robert Wollan, global managing director, Accenture Sales & Customer Services, in a press release. "To win requires an aggressive approach that goes beyond implementing technology to creating genuinely engaging customer experiences that today’s nonstop customers are seeking but obviously not finding with their current providers.”

Of course, companies gain and lose people all the time. But how can companies make sure they're gaining more than they're losing? First off, it's worth noting that 82 percent of people surveyed said that the company they switched from could have done something to prevent their switching. So companies can do better at retaining customers and attracting new ones. The two biggest things customers say that the businesses they switched from could have done to keep them: resolving their issue the first time and contacting the customer proactively to inform them of ways to enhance their experience with the company.

That's a start. For more insights check out more of the survey results.

Photo: Flickr/Justin Brown

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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