U.S. ‘Switching Economy’ Leaves $5.9 Trillion Up For Grabs

Businesses are failing to improve customer experiences to drive satisfaction and long-term brand loyalty, according to Accenture in a recent report that describes today’s consumer era as the “Switching Economy.” According to research conducted by Accenture, as much as $5.9 trillion of revenue is at stake in the global market, with $1.3 trillion of that amount up for grabs in the U.S.

The “Switching Economy” comprises the revenue potential driven by customer switching, Accenture explained. This new consumer group is defined by the potential expenditure shift from customers who switched from one company to another, as well as those that will potentially make a switch.

For the 2013 Global Consumer Pulse Research survey, titled: Digital Customer: It’s Time To Play To Win And Stop Playing Not To Lose, Accenture analyzed the experiences of 12,867 customers across 10 industries to gain insight into consumer attitudes toward marketing, sales and customer service practices.


The total percentage of U.S. customers who switched companies as a result of poor service has increased between 2012 and 2013, from 46% to 51%. Consumer goods retailers have been most affected by the switching customer, experiencing an average switching rate of 27% in 2013 versus 23% in 2012. Acknowledging that the “Switching Economy” may cause customer abandonment, smart retailers are responding by attracting customers with improved brand experiences. In fact, the study indicated that 81% of U.S. respondents that switched said companies could have done something differently to prevent them from switching.

Personalizing Experiences For The Connected Customer

The digital landscape has enabled customers to interact with their favorite brands beyond the brick-and-mortar store. As many as 89% of customers worldwide have used at least one digital channel in 2013 to search and learn about a product or service, and 70% have used a digital channel to obtain customer service and support. Additionally, approximately half (48%) of U.S. customers use expert review sites to discover product and service information.

“Success in the age of the nonstop customer does not all come down to digital,” said Kevin Quiring, Managing Director of North American Sales & Customer Services at Accenture. “It comes down to how to leverage the digital and offline worlds in a seamlessly integrated way, giving customers the ability to define their own experience and maximize control over how they interact with companies. That control extends to their personal information and how companies balance creative use of digital applications with privacy and data security.”

Accenture concluded that five traits were common among companies with successful customer service experiences. Referred to as the “customer-driven blueprint for digital experience,” these five traits include:

  1. Providing a tailored and personalized customer experience through predictive analytics;
  2. Using digital to optimize communication channels and increase service intimacy;
  3. Investing in mobile services and support capabilities to help deliver relevant experiences while reducing costs;
  4. Using social media effectively; and
  5. Creating a seamless experience, or integrating information and processes across all channels.

Click here to access more information on the 2013 Global Consumer Pulse Research Study from Accenture.

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