Survey: Consumers Like Digital Technology, But Are Confused by It

Consumers like the newest digital products, but they are easily frustrated by the complexity and commoditization of those offerings, according to a new survey from Accenture. The survey also shows, while new and enhanced service offerings can be crucial in building brand loyalty, customer service remains one of the best tools in providing customer satisfaction.

The survey found that 20% of consumers have returned a technology product in the last two years, citing poor product quality (38%) and missed functionality expectations (19%) as the main reasons. Poor customer service (11%) and a failure to work with other products and services (15%) were cited as leading reasons for product and service dissatisfaction, according to the survey.

The potential reward for companies that deliver a satisfactory customer experience is quite significant. For instance, two-thirds (65%) of respondents said that product brand supersedes store brand, indicating that brand equity for manufacturers is still key.

“Good customer support yields customer loyalty to your brand,” said Al Delattre, global managing director for Accenture’s electronics & high tech industry group. He noted that the survey found that nearly three out of four consumers agree that getting good customer support makes them more likely to buy from the same company in the future.

“While the survey clearly reveals the significant challenges facing the consumer electronics industry today, it also shows that there is strong consumer demand for enhanced customer support and other service offerings that can overcome the current confusion and frustration, said Delattre. “This presents a clear opportunity for leading companies to develop the bundles of products and services that can deliver a truly satisfying and exciting customer experience.”

The survey of 10,000 consumers in North America, Europe and Asia found that:

  • The vast majority believe that technology has made their lives easier (78%) and more fun (76%).
  • Price outweighs other purchase criteria by almost two-to-one.
  • Consumers are frustrated with complexity, with 43% stating that they’d prefer to buy a single-use product or service that does one.

“Digital technologies increasingly are moving into the lives of mainstream consumers who are embracing these products and services as part of what can be described as an emerging digital lifestyle -- where use of these technologies has become seamlessly integrated with how we all live and work,” said Delattre. “But unlike the technophiles who were the primary market for these products in the past, today’s mainstream buyers do not have the same degree of technical knowledge to cope with the complex installation, setup and troubleshooting that these products often require -- and this survey indicates they have no desire to become their own technicians.”

The online survey was conducted by TNS for Accenture and was fielded in April and May of this year. About 800 to 1,600 consumers were polled per country. Consumers in the United States and eight other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China participated in the overall online poll.