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Industry Research : UK Businesses Less Sophisticated in Approach to Channel Integration
Pitney Bowes Software (PBS), a global provider in customer data, analytics and communication software and services reveals, through a study of large B2C organisations in UK, France and Germany, that customers are being lost through fragmented and inconsistent communications and failure to integrate marketing channels.
The report, ‘Disconnected Customer Channels’, concludes that UK businesses show a significantly lower level of sophistication in their approach to channel integration than their French and German counterparts. The survey shows that although 90% of all respondents recognise the need to integrate their customer communications channels less than a third (31%) has actually done so. Of the remaining 10% of respondents who stated that they have no plans to integrate their channels, 23 of the 25 companies are UK based.
The report, which summarises the feedback of 250 chief marketing officers and directors in financial services, utilities and telecoms companies, shows that barriers to achieving channel integration include the recent explosion in channel growth, a lack of strategy, concern over channel security, inability to be consistent across channels and fear of confusing customers. Consequently, customers are being lost through fragmented and inconsistent communications.
Fragmented ownership is a key reason for losing new customers in each of the countries (32% overall). However French companies also report issues around simply following up with a customer - 38% of respondents citing both of these problems.
While having less of an issue with speaking to customers, UK organisations find it difficult to communicate about the right thing, with inappropriate offers or promotions (31%) and perceived lack of understanding (29%) being ranked highly. The survey suggests that the issue of customer engagement is less prevalent in Germany where 26% of companies feel that fragmented customer ownership is the main problem during customer on-boarding, with mass targeting mentioned by 19% of companies compared to 33% in France and 27% in the UK.
Companies do not appear to have the appropriate systems and processes in place to fully exploit the inbound channel for marketing purposes. Nearly half of French companies (49%) used scripts to manage these conversations, as compared with Germany (33%) and UK (25%). Just 9%, overall, use more sophisticated systems that deliver onscreen prompts based on predictive analytics. Germany leads the way with 14%, followed by the UK (11%) and France only (2%).
Almost all respondents (94%) believe in the merits of multichannel marketing and rate its capacity to ‘save time and money’ as the key benefit. Germany was the most enthusiastic (62%), followed by France (46%) and UK (34%). France was the least sophisticated when it came to multichannel marketing with three quarters (74%) still using single channels, as compared to Germany (60%) and the UK (49%),
Gary Roberts, Executive Vice President, EMEA at Pitney Bowes Software commented: "In this information age, customers expect to be understood by their suppliers. To avoid losing customers UK companies need to get up to speed with their European counterparts and change their approach to integrating their customer channels. Unless companies develop consistent cross-channel communications, their ability to develop profitable, long-term relationships will be seriously impacted."
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Published: Monday, March 5, 2012