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Consumer Research


Consumers demand communication choices from suppliers

Consumers demand communication choices from suppliers

Nearly two-thirds of UK consumers say they are unlikely to buy from a company if they cannot interact with it through their preferred means of communication, according to a survey from customer management specialist Blueview Group.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults showed that 66% said they would be extremely likely to cease dealings with a company they had never bought from before if it did not offer their chosen communication channel – whether mail, email, phone, web or face-to-face.

The research also showed that a majority of those surveyed also wanted communication choice from existing suppliers, with 61% saying they were extremely likely to switch to a competitor if a company they were already buying from failed to offer their favoured channel option.

When it came to communication with a new company, the survey showed that the older the consumer, the more likely they were to demand their preference of channel.

The 55-plus age group was the most adamant with 74% saying they would look to another firm if not given a choice, followed by the 45-54 group at 65%, 35-44 at 62%, 35-34 at 61% and 18-24 at 56%.

In the case of existing suppliers, the 55-plus age group was again most likely to demand channel choice with 64% favouring the idea of going to another company if they were not offered their preference. Next came the 25-34 group at 61%, followed by 35-44 at 60%, 45-54 at 58% and 18-24 at 54%.

The study also revealed that the most demanding customers live in London and the South East, the South West, Wales and East Anglia, while in North East England, Northern Scotland and Lancashire consumers were slightly more relaxed about not having their preferred channel.

“If businesses do not offer communication choice, then consumers are much less likely to buy, and existing customers are much more likely to defect to a competitor,” said Blueview’s strategy and planning director, Darren Ponsford.

“At the most basic level, marketers need to find out what the favoured communications channels are for each consumer. Firms need to do their best to determine how a potential or an existing customer wants to be communicated with when opening a dialogue.”

He added, “Whether they are trying to talk to new customers or keeping up relationships as they service existing ones, companies need to keep communication lines open and use the data at hand to make sure they are reaching consumers through the channels they are most comfortable with.

“This is something that today’s consumers don’t just want – they expect it.”

The survey sample was representative of the UK by age, gender, region and social class. The fieldwork was conducted on behalf of Blueview Group by Lightspeed Research, part of the WPP Group.

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