Frustration from getting an electronics device to work caused 13% of consumers to return that item, according to a new report, Technical Services Support, from leading market research company The NPD Group. However, 68% of those consumers said if the retailer offered appropriate tech support they wouldn’t have returned the product. “Service is the first and most significant interaction a consumer has with the device maker or retailer after purchase, and even though the cost of providing post-purchase care can be high, the cost of not providing it could be even higher,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “Bad tech support can damage a brand’s image translating into returns and high customer dissatisfaction. Spending a little more on hiring and training the right professionals to guide customers through trouble spots can increase revenue, decrease costs, and cultivate loyal customers who come back for more,” said Baker. However according to the report retailers have their work cut out for them. When asked the likelihood of purchasing products or services from the tech service provider they used, only 46% of consumers who had a repair done said they would be “more likely to buy additional products or services.” That could be partly because of how much of the support is put into the consumer’s hands with the ability to problem-solve through manuals or the manufacturer’s Web site. Only 28% of consumers said they used a tech support service at the first sign of a problem, while 72% of consumers tried to figure it out on their own before calling on a professional. Almost 25% of consumers said they waited several days or more before connecting with some sort of tech support, and three out of four calls were for items already in the home, not for products just purchased. Once they reached out to tech support consumers gave high marks for satisfaction and overall experience. Eight-three percent of consumers said they were “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their overall tech support experience, and 87% said that tech support helped resolve the issues they were having. Source: “Technical Services Support,” conducted by The NPD Group, August 24, 2009. Website: www.npd.com.