Consumers express frustration when the service they receive does not take account of previous contact through another channel
The customer experience in online retailing is not meeting consumer expectations according to new research conducted by the customer communications technology company, 7.
More than one in three respondents admitted they had bought a product elsewhere as a result of bad customer service received by an online retailer.
The research study of more than 2,000 UK consumers, conducted by Leadership Factor
on behalf of 7, also highlighted the fact that two in five respondents got frustrated when retailers did not know who they are or what their issue is, despite having interacted via another channel previously.
Shoppers grow tired of repeating themselves
Consumers also expected an online retailer to know what they want based on previous contact and irrespective of which channel they used -- 23% said the most frustrating aspect of customer service was a retailer not having any record of their customer history and having to start the same conversation afresh each time.
One in three regularly used more than three different channels to communicate with an online retailer's customer service department. The most popular channels were: 59% used a desktop device; 57% said they used a landline phone and 31% used a mobile phone. Only 11% said they used social media for interacting with customer service.
Channeling integrated customer communication
Live chat also emerged as a popular customer service and communication channel, with 32% regularly using this where it was offered. However, opinion on live chat was split, as 24% of the survey respondents said that it could be off-putting and intrusive if it is offered when they were not ready for it.
Christopher Schyma, vice president of retail and consumer goods for 7 in Europe, Middle East and Africa, urged retailers to refine their use of communication channels in line with their customers' preferences.
“Providing a memorable customer experience across channels by accurately predicting a customer’s intent is a major factor in customer loyalty and online retailers will ignore this at their own risk,” he concluded.