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Despite the general sense of excitement and euphoria that grips the nation at the time of a major sporting event such as the World Cup, a new survey by Aspect Software has revealed that consumer spending habits remain largely the same during these periods, along with their perceptions of the speed of customer service.

Despite attempts by retailers and other consumer-focused businesses to use the World Cup as a way of promoting particular products or offers, this research underlines the need for customer experiences to remain consistent both during and outside of these periods.

The survey polled 2,000 adults in various age groups from across the UK, in an attempt to gauge how heavily the upcoming World Cup will impact on the money they spend. According to the results, 39 per cent of respondents feel their spending remains more or less the same during an event such as this, with 36 per cent saying they do not get caught up in the excitement surrounding the event. This is compared to just 7 per cent of respondents who say they spend lots more during a period such as this.

For Stephen Ball, Senior VP of Europe & Africa at Aspect Software, consumer-focused businesses should take heed of their customers’ attitudes towards spending here, and realise that making the most of the World Cup and other major events is about listening closely to what consumers want, rather than simply bombarding them with offers and promotions.

He said: “The World Cup provides an opportunity for people to get behind their chosen team and enjoy what is one of the globe’s most eagerly anticipated events. It can be easy for companies to see this as a chance to make a quick buck from the excitement, and use this to drive increased customer activity.

“However, our survey suggests that consumer spending habits aren’t as erratic as some may think. With this in mind, it is vital that businesses don’t lose sight of the fact that customer loyalty is built on being able to maintain a consistently high standard of product delivery and customer service.”

To emphasise this point further, the research also found that, when it comes to perceptions of the pace of customer service during major events such as the World Cup, consumers tend to believe that little changes from the norm. 45 per cent of respondents say that customer service remains unchanged in terms of quality and speed, or that they see no uplift in sales activity. This is in contrast to just 15 per cent of those polled who say that customer service becomes faster, and 18 per cent who feel that it slows down.

Ball added: “When it comes to customer engagement, perceptions can be just as important as the reality. From this evidence, it appears that any attempts to interact more readily with customers during events such as the World Cup do not have much of a lasting impact on customers. Instead, positive relationships with customers should be built up over a longer period, meaning that businesses should never lose sight of their long-term customer engagement strategy.”

He concluded: “To help meet these demands, businesses should make sure that they have the processes and technologies in place that enable customer engagement efforts to be quickly stepped up in case of spikes in activity, but also ensure that the quality of customer interactions is not compromised. After all, these positive relationships are much more valuable to a company if they last well beyond England’s involvement in this year’s tournament!”

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