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Marketers want customers to serve themselves

By Published on .

Marketers will increase spending in 2006 to drive customers to self-service channels such as Web sites and automated phone services, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

The report, "Customer Experience Spending Booms in 2006," was based on a survey of 105 marketers in the fourth quarter at companies with annual revenue of $200 million or more. Respondents included b-to-c as well as b-to-b marketers.

"Any channel that involves hiring and paying a human being to talk to your human being customer is inherently expensive," said Nate Root, VP-research director at Forrester.

He said the average cost per call to a call center is between $5 and $10, compared with "virtually free" transactions on company Web sites.

Forrester found that 23% of respondents said it was critical to shift customer transactions to the Web in 2006, and 42% said it was very important.

Also, 9% of respondents said it was critical to shift customer transactions to phone self-service, and 27% said it was very important.

Regarding how they will be spending on customer experience tools and services in 2006, 17% of respondents said they will spend significantly more on Web analytics this year than they did last year, and 30% said they would spend somewhat more.

Only 4% of companies said they will spend less on Web analytics in 2006. 

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