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Study: Customer Call Experience Drives Future Purchase Intent

By Heather Baldwin

Your company recently may have implemented a multimillion-dollar CRM system, but if customers call with questions and get transferred more than once, the likelihood of them purchasing from you again drops sharply. So much for that multimillion-dollar investment!

That’s just one of the findings in a new study by Portland Research Group that looked at the satisfaction and loyalty of customers who contacted businesses throughout 2003. The Portland, Maine-based firm compiled the study based on 841 responses from customers who had contacted companies in one of five categories – telecommunication/ISP, consumer goods/retail, consumer services/medical, travel/lodging/food and other. Here are some of its key findings:

  • The questions or problems of 46% of respondents were resolved during the first contact, but the typical contactor had to call 2.3 times before the question or problem was resolved. Future purchase intent dropped from 76% to 55% with the second contact.
  • On average callers were transferred 1.5 times before reaching someone who could assist them. There was little impact on satisfaction or loyalty when a caller was transferred a single time. There was a significant drop in future purchase intent when a contactor was transferred a second time, however. Future purchase intent dropped from 64% to 48% when a caller was transferred twice. Only one in three (35%) callers were not transferred.
  • Overall, one out of four (24%) people who called a company for assistance with a question or problem were not satisfied with the follow through on the actions promised by the call center agent they spoke with.
  • Contactors who were very or somewhat satisfied with the response they received had an associated loyalty of 78%. Loyalty drops by at least 55 percentage points when contactors were less than satisfied with the response they received.
  • For more information or to obtain a copy of the study, visit