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European Consumers Demand More Self-Service Options


Survey results point toward an “inflection point” for how businesses adapt to changing consumer behavior, says NCR Chairman and CEO Bill Nuti

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Increasing numbers of European consumers use self-service in their everyday lives, and the latest research from NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) shows an increasing percentage of individuals actually favor businesses that offer “do-it-myself” options.

The 2008 NCR Self-Service Consumer survey, conducted by BuzzBack Market Research, reveals that 67 percent, or nearly 7 out of 10, consumers across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. are more likely to do business with a company that offers the flexibility to interact using self-service – whether via the Internet, on a mobile device or at a kiosk or ATM. Moreover, 56 percent say their likelihood to use self-service has increased over the past year.

NCR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Nuti announced the survey results today at the NCR Self-Service Universe conference in Budapest, where he spoke to executives across the financial, retail, healthcare, travel and other industries.

“The bottom line is that we are truly at an inflection point,” Nuti told the audience. “Technology innovation, coupled with changes in consumer behavior, is forcing businesses to adapt to a consumer who is changing the way they connect, interact and transact with your business.

“The self-service revolution is real because consumers see how they personally gain from it. Self-service is convenient and efficient, gives them time back and puts them in control – all of which are highly valued. Consumers require anytime, anywhere convenience. They have gotten a taste of what is possible and they want more. In fact, they are demanding it.”

In addition to being more likely to do business with enterprises offering self-service, 58 percent of the survey respondents say the availability of self-service technologies creates a more positive perception of the deployer’s brand.

The survey also shows that European consumers clearly value the ability to use a combination of self-service channels – their PDA or cell phone, the Internet and touch points such as ATMs or kiosks – to improve their overall experience. Ninety-eight percent would use a combination of such self-service channels to handle a transaction or service in the retail or hotel industries. The findings are similar for consumer transactions in the travel (97 percent), banking (96 percent) and healthcare (95 percent) industries.

“The pressure is mounting on organizations to finally develop a multichannel strategy that leverages self-service at the point-of-service, online and mobile channels,” Nuti said. Speed, convenience and ease of use are identified most frequently by respondents when asked why they would choose self-service over personal assistance in each of four industry sectors:

financial (faster – 61 percent, more convenient– 52 percent, easier – 46 percent);
retail (faster – 60 percent, more convenient– 54 percent, easier –47 percent);
travel (faster – 57 percent, more convenient– 57 percent, easier – 48 percent); and
healthcare (faster – 53 percent, more convenient – 46 percent, easier – 45 percent).

Among other factors consumers cite as reasons for choosing self-service are heightened privacy and greater control. This is especially the case in the healthcare industry, where 41 percent of respondents say privacy is a priority for their interest in using self-service and 55 percent say self-service allows them to control who views their medical history.

According to Nuti, these consumer findings suggest that despite accelerating adoption of self-service across a variety of industries, the true potential of the technology may still be untapped in many cases. He noted that businesses that will profit most from deploying self-service solutions are those that go beyond viewing it as simply task automation and use self-service to re-engineer their business processes and customer service delivery and, ultimately, to transform their business models.

“Business model transformation is where organizations create breakthrough value and lasting competitive advantage, Nuti said. “This phase requires an enterprise strategy that incorporates disruptive innovation, governance and multichannel integration.”

The Self-Service Universe conference, sponsored by NCR, annually draws executives from multiple industries to venues in the Americas, Europe and other regions where they learn and exchange ideas on integrating self-service to develop better, stronger relationships with their customers while lowering costs and gaining competitive advantage.

Survey Methodology
This news release reports on the European phase of a global study being conducted for NCR by BuzzBack Market Research among 3,000 consumers in North America, Europe, China and Australia. The samples are representative for age, gender and household income within each region or country. Results of the North American phase of the study were announced last month at the Americas Self-Service Universe conference in Orlando, Fla.


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