Eighty-five percent of global consumers, and 79 percent of American respondents, are more likely to do business with companies that provide multi-channel self-service, via a mobile device or at self-service kiosks, according to the latest global survey of consumer attitudes in 16 countries commissioned by NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) from BuzzBack Market Research.
The survey reveals how self-service is playing a key role in providing consumers around the world with more flexibility and choice as they change their purchase decisions and behavior in order to beat recessionary pressures. When shopping, banking, traveling or visiting their doctor, American respondents are looking to use multi-channel self-service to better manage their cash flow and time, seek greater value and improve speed and convenience.
The consumer research paints a picture of American consumers who are coping during the economic downturn by paying with cash to curtain spending, surfing the internet for the best discounts and product information, bargain hunting or 'shop hopping' between their favorite retailers in search of the best deal and choosing store brand or generic products over brand name options. They also have clear expectations of what they want from staff in retail stores, with 73 percent looking for retail staff to personally help them find what they're looking for and 75 percent wanting staff to facilitate a quick check out.
When traveling, American respondents said they are stretching their dollars during the recession by turning to low cost flight, car rental and hotel options. Almost 80 percent of American respondents said they were likely to choose a travel company that provides the flexibility to interact easily via multi-channels through online, mobile and kiosk solutions over one that does not. Respondents also said they like the convenience of a kiosk for self check in at the airport, printing of their boarding pass, and checking in and out of their hotel room.
As consumers adapt their behavior to cope with the downturn, they are also looking for more advice and help from companies with decisions. Forty percent of Americans surveyed said that self-service creates a more positive view of a company's brand, with 43 percent saying their likelihood to use self-service has increased over the past year.
"Our research shows consumers are seeking out those companies that can offer both value and service by adapting quickly to their changing needs in these uncertain times," said NCR Executive Vice President - Industry Services John Bruno. "Multi-channel self-service is a smart capital investment. It provides the choice that consumers are demanding while being cost-effective to companies that allows them to redeploy employees to improve service and sales. As consumers experience these benefits of self-service across multiple industries, they will come to expect the same levels of interaction in more aspects of their lives. "
Those surveyed said they have made changes in their lives to manage cash flows more effectively.
- 50 percent of Americans surveyed said they are opting to use cash over other payment options.
- 30 percent are using ATMs more frequently for smaller withdrawals.
- 40 percent are paying bills just before the due date.
- 30 percent are paying their bills online, via their mobile phone or at an ATM/kiosk.
When seeking financial advice American respondents are facing the following challenges:
- 30 percent find it difficult setting up a convenient time to meet with an advisor.
- 30 percent find it hard tracking down an advisor with the specialized knowledge to discuss their financial future.
- 83 percent would find it useful to overcome the difficulty of getting financial advice by booking appointments with advisors online, through a mobile device or branch kiosk.
- 28 percent of Americans surveyed would like shorter lines and faster service at the teller line.
Respondents are also changing their shopping patterns and loyalties as they seek out deals to attempt to obtain more value for their money.
- 80 percent of American respondents said they are hunting down the best sale.
- 46 percent are looking for value through online discount coupons, and via reviews and price comparisons from retailers.
- 53 percent are switching between retailers or 'shop hopping' to get better value.
As shoppers change their shopping behavior they also have greater expectations of advice and service in-store.
- 73 percent said they are looking for retail staff to personally help track down what they want.
- 75 percent want staff to facilitate a quick check out.
- 49 percent said they would welcome a self-service kiosk in stores to locate products.
- 43 percent said they would enjoy large screen displays to provide product information or alert them to discount offerings.
When they're traveling, American respondents are looking for value and convenience at an affordable price.
- 72 percent of Americans surveyed said they are adapting to the economic downturn by turning to low cost flight, car rental and hotel options.
- 76 percent surveyed said they were likely to choose a travel company that provides the flexibility to interact easily via multi-channels through online, mobile and kiosk solutions over one that doesn't.
- 44 percent said they like the convenience and flexibility of a kiosk for self check in and printing of their boarding pass.
- 39 percent also welcome the convenience of a kiosk for checking in and out of their hotel room.
When managing their health, Americans respondents said they want better service for their money and would welcome the flexibility of multi-channel service when dealing with their healthcare providers.
- 76 percent of American respondents find it frustrating waiting at their doctors' offices or hospitals.
- 50 percent are fed up with completing paperwork and filling out multiple forms.
- 70 percent said they were more likely to choose a health care provider that reduced frustration by providing the flexibility to interact easily via online, mobile and kiosk.
- 61 percent would also choose a provider who offered appointment scheduling and prescription refills.
- 54 percent would welcome the flexibility to book appointment on the internet, and obtain test results or follow-ups securely on the internet.
- 43 percent want to mange their personal information online.
NCR commissioned BuzzBack Market Research to conduct NCR's 2009 Self-Service consumer survey with 8,400 people across 16 countries in North America, Latin American, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia during January 2009 and December 2008. This survey covered over 500 American respondents. BuzzBack LLC is a leading international market research firm headquartered in New York City.