In terms of customer service, logic would suggest you can’t beat face-to-face. After all, when it comes to top-quality consumer experiences nothing tops the personal touch… right? Evidently not. According to new research, online retailers – whilst not embodying the traditional definition of a hands-on approach – actually delivered the highest standard of customer service, leaving their high street rivals lagging behind in the dust.
The study by contact centre software provider Aspect Software found that only 2% of consumers could recall a particularly bad customer experience involving an online retailer in the last 12 months. Conversely, the proportion of those prepared to rate themselves satisfied or extremely satisfied with the service they had received was as high as 79%. Additionally, not one of the respondents expressed dissatisfaction at the level of customer service they receive online as a whole. When compared to other markets, such as telecommunications – when one in every ten consumers felt they’d received unsatisfactory service – this does show just how effectively online retailers are cracking down on bad customer experiences.
However, this isn’t to say that these outlets are getting everything right. Whilst online retailers aren’t giving consumers much reason to complain, only 7% of their customers remember having a particularly good consumer experience in the last 12 months. Additionally, these e-commerce outlets still leave something to be desired when the proverbial does hit the fan, with only 9% of customer complaints resolved in the first instance and as much as 36% of complaints never reaching a satisfactory conclusion. This is rather sobering information and demonstrates that no industry can afford to rest on its laurels when it comes to customer service.
“The modern British consumer is demanding more and more from the customer service they receive,” commented Mark King, the senior vice president for Europe and Africa at Aspect.
“With the competition just one click away, online retailers are having to engage with us shopaholics through a variety of channels, and it’s clear to see that in terms of giving consumers what they want, online retailers are setting the standards for other organisations. But nobody’s perfect, as it’s clear that they still have a little way to go in achieving an optimal service.”
Given the ease of setting up and the smoother transactions involved, e-commerce is clearly an attractive option for start-ups and small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). But it’s worth remembering that customer service and positive consumer experiences is relevant irrespective of the space in which you operate.