Report: Digital Consumers Want Chat Assistance, Flexible Delivery Options

A retail report based on a survey conducted by CFI Group in Ann Arbor and Radial in Pennsylvania shows that today’s digital shoppers expect easy and immediate chat assistance online and flexible delivery options that fit into their schedules.
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woman online shopping
Online shoppers expect chat assistance and flexible delivery options, according to a recent report. // Stock photo

A retail report based on a survey conducted by CFI Group in Ann Arbor and Radial in Pennsylvania shows that today’s digital shoppers expect easy and immediate chat assistance online and flexible delivery options that fit into their schedules.

Live chat is becoming common during online purchases. About 25 percent of online retail customers reported they had used chat at least three separate times when placing an order over the past 12 months. About 43 percent are more likely to purchase from a retailer that provides a live chat option.

However, offering chatbots instead of professional agents can backfire and cause customer frustration. The report shows that customers who use chat and have some or all of the interaction with a chatbot are 8 percent less satisfied, 4 percent less loyal, and 3 percent less likely to recommend the retailer compared to the average customer who contacts retail customer service.

“To provide the service levels consumers have come to expect, retailers must think holistically across support channels and avoid halfway measures such as chatbots without access to live agents,” says Ricardo Layun, vice president of customer care services at Radial.

In-store pickup and ship to store are also growing in popularity. Of the online buyers surveyed, 61 percent said they had opted for in-store pickup at least once over the past 12 months, and 27 percent had used the ship to store option for an online order at least three times over the past 12 months.

About 54 percent of consumers also expect that when they contact customer service about an order, they expect the agent to have access to their full account history with the retailer for all in-store pickup, while 39 percent expect the same of a ship to store order.

“It’s not enough to provide various options for consumers,” says Layun. “It’s also imperative that service agents have a full view of customers’ order history as well as their preferences.”

The full report is available here.

CFI Group was founded in 1988 and delivers customer experience measurement and business insights.

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