OPERATIONS

Survey: Mail carriers and neighbors most forgotten at holidays

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Portland, Maine — CashStar found in its latest survey that nearly 56 million adult online Americans are likely to forget to buy a gift for their mail carriers and nearly 44 million are likely to forget to buy a gift for their neighbors.

The survey, conducted online nationwide by Harris Interactive on behalf of CashStar, examined when online American adults remember to buy gifts and who they end up forgetting.

Despite the rushes reported around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the survey also revealed that a quarter of online Americans only remember to buy a gift in the days leading up to an event, with nearly 10 million remembering on the day of the occasion.

“These results reflect how hectic our schedules are, especially during the holidays. Despite our best intentions, we forget important people. Fortunately, technology is again helping to make our lives easier, now in the form of eGift Cards, which can be delivered in an instant from any computer, tablet or smartphone,” said David Stone, co-founder and CEO of CashStar.

Other trends uncovered in the survey include:

• Men were twice as likely to forget a gift until the day of an event compared to women.

• Eight million online adult Americans admitted to forgetting a holiday gift for their parents.

• When it comes to gifting, 36 million online Americans confessed to forgetting their bosses, while only 26 million bosses forgot their employees.

• Nearly 20 million online Americans said that they forgot the babysitter and nearly 26 million forgot their child’s teacher.

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Survey: Defecting consumers could have been retained

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Although consumers are defecting in growing numbers, the majority say they could have been retained, according to survey results released Wednesday by Accenture.

According to the Accenture Global Consumer Survey, in 2012 one-in-five consumers switched companies they buy from — including retailers, wireless phone and Internet service — marking a 5% increase in switching over 2011 levels. However, the survey also found that 85% of consumers say the companies could have done something differently to prevent them from switching.

Among those consumers who would have stayed if their provider had acted differently, two-thirds (67%) pointed to having their customer service issue resolved during their first contact as a factor. More than half (54%) might have remained loyal if they had been rewarded for doing more business with their provider.

Among retailers specifically, the rise in switching was 22% in 2012, up from 16% in 2011.

Broken promises are a top area of frustration for consumers, according to the survey: 63% of respondents indicate it’s extremely frustrating when a company delivers a different customer service experience from what it promised upfront.

Other frustrations that make consumers more likely to switch include:

  • Having to contact customer service multiple times for the same reason (65%);
  • Dealing with unfriendly customer service agents (65%); and
  • Being on hold for a long time when contacting customer service (61%).

“The sobering reality is that ‘tried and true’ strategies for customer acquisition, loyalty and retention are struggling to keep pace with consumers who are perpetually in motion, more technologically savvy than ever, and increasingly unpredictable,” said Robert Wollan, global managing director — Accenture Sales & Customer Services. “The news this year is that customers want to be loyal but customer service often fails to meet their expectations.”

Other survey key findings include:

  • 48% of respondents say that they have higher expectations of getting specialized treatment for being a “good” customer;
  • 31% prefer companies that use information about them to make their experience more efficient; and
  • When evaluating a company, 31% of respondents say they trust comments posted by people they know, echoing the importance of word of mouth. More than a quarter (28%) say positive comments in social media affect purchasing decisions and 28% say negative comments do so.

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Schimenti expands headquarters

BY Staff Writer

Ridgefield, Conn. — Schimenti Construction announced it has completed an expansion of its company headquarters in Ridgefield, Conn., doubling the size of the space from 10,000 sq. ft. to 20,000 sq. ft.

The expansion also includes a redesign of the main floor with the creation of a new reception area. A new executive conference room has been added on the first floor, as well as new waiting areas on both floors. A training space has been incorporated into the new design and a new employee café features a Starbucks coffee bar.

The company said it is also in the process of relocating and expanding its New York City location and expects to have new, larger offices completed in early 2013.

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