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Xerox Survey Finds Consumers Willing to Pay for Better Customer Care Service

Tuesday, December 1, 2015  
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A new Xerox report, The State of Customer Service 2015, reveals that more than half (54 percent) of consumers would pay more money for better customer care from their preferred brands.

The report, which surveyed 6,000 consumers in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, found that the importance consumers placed on a quality customer care experience was significant among all sectors, countries and age groups. The survey showed seven in 10 of those aged over 71, and even 40 percent of Generation Zs (aged 16-20) were prepared to pay more to ease the support process.

In addition to underlying dissatisfaction, many consumers continue to be both unimpressed and wary of personalization due to privacy concerns. Nearly one-third (31 percent) indicated they do not want any form of personalization and half of those over 50 years old claimed they were uncomfortable with brands' use of their personal data.

The survey also revealed a willingness to use more automation to respond to their inquiries with such tools like a "virtual assistant" which is software that mimics the actions of customer care agents. While 56 percent expressed comfort with alternative methods of digital communication, 29 percent ruled out this option and 15 percent said that they had yet to form an opinion on this emerging technology. Demographically, the concept appeals to younger consumers. Seventy-two percent of Generation Z are open to this new form of artificial intelligence, compared to only 36 percent of those over 71 years old.

"We all know that customer satisfaction is a strong indicator of loyalty," said Nancy Collins, group president, High-Tech, Communications and Media group, Xerox. "Whether it's more expertise from customer care agents, shorter wait times or a seamless omni-channel experience, there is a clear opportunity for brands to better use technology to build trust and treat every consumer as an individual."

The survey questioned technology, communications and media industry consumers about channel preferences, customer satisfaction and loyalty and privacy and personalization. It expands on previous surveys that focused on customer loyalty in the communications sector.

Other trends revealed by the survey include:
  • One-brand ecosystems are expected to predominate: Single brand ecosystems do not exist — yet. In 2025, 51 percent of consumers in the three sectors surveyed expect to buy into a single brand — a huge opportunity for brands to position themselves at the heart of their customers' worlds.
  • The call center must evolve: The call center is still the channel of choice for 25 percent of consumers and dominant in the United States (32 percent) and France (27 percent). But with two-fifths (42 percent) saying that there will be no call centers by 2025, it is time now to think about how it must evolve.
  • Time to rethink the retail store: The physical retail store still holds appeal for many. The face-to-face contact of a retail store remains consumers' most preferred route for sign-up (38 percent) and set-up (25 percent) in the technology sector.
"With many consumers willing to pay more for it, organizations must make the investments necessary to ensure that their customer service works better," Collins said. "Delivering that personalized service so many consumers crave while ensuring their data will be handled carefully is an ongoing challenge. We see a great opportunity for businesses to bridge the gap and differentiate themselves with the next-gen tools such as analytics, automation and artificial intelligence that push the traditional customer care models forward."

In other news, CDP, an international environmental organization, has named Xerox as a leader in providing reliable information about carbon emissions and energy use to investors and the global marketplace.

The recognition comes as COP21, the United Nations climate change conference in Paris, gets underway, where national leaders will meet to work on a global deal to reduce carbon emissions and limit temperature warming.

"As the world looks beyond the Paris climate change negotiations and prepares for a low carbon future, reliable information about how companies are responding to the transition will be ever more valuable," said Paul Dickinson, executive chairman and co-founder, CDP. "For this reason, we congratulate those businesses that have achieved a position on CDP's Climate Disclosure Leadership Index."

Xerox was named to the S&P Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) for the quality of its carbon emissions and energy reporting that it submits to CDP's climate change program. The reported data has been independently assessed against CDP's scoring methodology and out of a possible 100, Xerox scored 99. Only organizations graded within the top 10 percent are included in the leadership index.

CDP's collection of risk data — the world's largest — enables businesses, investors and cities to better mitigate risk, capitalize on opportunities and make the type of investment decisions that lead to a more sustainable world.

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