Consumers have growing expectations for customer service, according to a new report by Radial in Pennsylvania and CFI Group in Ann Arbor that pulled insights from a survey of 500 online shoppers. The report also recommends that retailers invest in tools, technology, and training to better customer service.
“Self-serve tools and online chat options are making it easier for customers to address problems on the website or mobile app quickly,” says Sheri Petras, CEO of CFI Group. “If they end up calling customer service, they expect voice recognition technology, empowered professional agents, and customer account tools to all work together seamlessly to make issue resolution quick and easy.”
Retailers are making live chat more available, and about 16 percent of retail customers who interact with customer service do so via online chat. Of those, 39 percent say they use it because it pops up when they’re on the site, up from 29 percent the previous year.
Customers find chats are helpful if they are with live agents instead of chatbots. Half of surveyed customers who use chat say at least some portion involved interaction with an automated response system, compared to just 38 percent last year. However, retail customers who chat directly with a live agent are 17 percent more satisfied with customer service than those who interact exclusively or partially with a chatbot.
When calls to customer service are necessary, customers expect agents to have all their information at their fingertips, along with access to the history of prior interactions with the brand. Of those who contacted customer service, 62 percent expected the agent to have knowledge of their previous interaction with the brand, while 24 percent expected the agent to see all customer interaction activity regardless of whether the activity was online or at a physical store.
About 23 percent of customers said they were less likely to make a purchase when agents did not have access to their order history, showing that retailers who do not make this history available to their agents can lose revenue.
The full report is available here.