Germans are the most complicated customers in the world. It’s not without a reason that many companies despair of entering the German market. But why is that?

The annually “Global Consumer Pulse Research” published by Accenture provides insights into the underlying driving forces of the German consumer and their buying behavior. The research of 2016 surveyed almost 24,000 consumers in 33 countries, of which 1,200 were German consumers.

But first of all, what does the case of a “complicated customer” look like?

Germans have high expectations and are easy to get frustrated

Germans expect fast and simple business transactions, competent advice, fast problem solving processes and favourable prices on all channels.

At the same time they are easy to upset. The level of customer frustration in Germany is rising. 87 % of dissatisfied customers in Germany complained about false promises made by providers, 83 % did not see their expectations in data protection fulfilled, 80 % complained about unqualified employees. That is a lot and all percentages are clearly higher than in other mature consumer markets.

Competition for German consumers is fierce

German consumers are particularly spoiled. This may be related to the fact that, in recent years, competition for German consumers has been fierce. Germans are known to be extremely price sensitive which is why discount supermarkets have the biggest market share. The so called “Aldi-Effekt” describes the fact that in no other industrialized country do people have to spend as little on food as in Germany.

Another consequence of this development is a steady decline in customer loyalty, driven by digitization. It gives disappointed customers easy access to alternatives and once they changed suppliers, they are hard to win back (63 % will not come back).

Don’t rely on digital forms of customer service

In today’s digitized world, it is tempting to make use of all the digital technologies providing tools and other application to scale your customer service processes. But this does not work in Germany.

74 % prefer dealing with human beings over digital channels to solve customer service issues. Even more, 78 % prefer dealing with human beings to get advice. So human interaction is an essential component of customer satisfaction.

The good news is that there is plenty of room for improvement in delivering customer services in Germany. Knowing how to deal with that is your chance to win and keep your fair share in a new, competitive market.

Do you want to know more about the Germans as your potential future customer and their purchasing behavior?
Read our blog post about how German consumers are looking for trust before purchasing