Online retail customer service needs to improve as one in three consumers have made purchases elsewhere after receiving bad service

January 30, 2014

New [24]7.ai survey highlights need for better use of customer data, as 40 per cent get frustrated when retailers do not know who they are despite previous contact in another channel

LONDON, UK — 30 January 2014 — The customer experience in online retailing is not meeting consumer expectations according to new research conducted by the intuitive customer experience company, [24]7.ai. 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 [24]7.ai, highlighted the need for online retailers to make better use of the data they hold on their customers, particularly retaining context when customers change channels.

Two in five respondents said they get frustrated when retailers do not know who they are or what their issue is, despite having interacted via another channel previously. Consumers also expect an online retailer to know what they want based on previous contact, irrespective of which channel they use to contact the retailers23 percent said the most frustrating aspect of customer service is a retailer not having any record of their customer history and having to start a conversation afresh each time.

“Consumers see online retail as a quick and efficient way of doing their shopping and they don’t want to waste time continually reminding a retailer of who they are and what they want,” said Christopher Schyma, Vice President (EMEA), Retail & Consumer Goods, [24]7.ai. “Retailers hold a lot of data on their customers and need to use that to deliver more intuitive customer service, allowing consumers to change channels and retain context when they do. People have shown they are prepared to shop elsewhere if the customer experience does not meet their expectations.”

Consumers are increasingly using a variety of channels to communicate with online retailers’ customer service, with one in three regularly using more than three different channels to do so. The top channels that respondents use to interact are as follows: 59 percent on the web use a desktop device to reach the retailers’ customer service; 57 percent use a landline phone and 31 percent use a mobile phone. Only 11 percent said they used social media for customer service interaction.

Live chat is a popular customer service channel, with 32 percent regularly using this. However, retailers must know when to offer live chat and when to hold back, as 24 percent of survey respondents said that introducing live chat when they are not ready for is off-putting and intrusive.

“Consumers are using a variety of channels for customer service as they seek the most efficient way to get their issue resolved,” continued Christopher Schyma. “This will often include using several channels at once or changing channels mid-interaction and online retailers must be mindful that these expectations are becoming the norm for many online shoppers. Providing a memorable customer experience across channels is a major part in customer loyalty and online retailers will ignore this at their own risk.”

The survey also revealed the three most popular activities that consumers do online. 78 percent of UK consumers regularly shop online for fashion, electronics, other consumer goods, 72 percent do banking and 57 percent arrange travel or holidays, so the potential loss of customers due to bad customer service is stark.

About [24]7.ai
[24]7.ai makes customer service and sales simple. Our platform and applications use big data and predictive analytics to understand customers and drive better service and sales results for large enterprises. We do this over 2.5 billion times a year for the world’s leading companies. [24]7.ai’s platform enables an omnichannel interaction experience. We connect customer interactions across an enterprise’s web, mobile, chat, social, and phone channels. It’s all in real-time and in the cloud. Our solutions drive immediate business results. We increase revenues, reduce service and sales costs, and create more satisfied customers. [24]7.ai serves the Global 100 market leaders in the Financial Services, Retail, Telecommunications, Technology, and Travel Industries. [24]7.ai is noted by Forbes as one of America’s Most Promising Companies. [24]7.ai is based in Campbell, California. For more information, visit: www.247-inc.com.

[24]7.ai is a trademark of 24/7 Customer, Inc. All other brands, products or service names are or may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

Media Contact:
Paul Allen
Napier Partnership
+44 (0) 7515 199 487
paul@napier.co.uk