Shoppers willing pay more for top customer service, omnichannel experience key - report
Consumers are willing to spend 9% more on a product if they receive superior customer service, according to new research from cloud-based contact centre technology provider Puzzel.
Its ‘Retail Smart Guide: Tips for delivering smarter shopping experiences’, which surveyed 1,000 UK consumers in July, reveals how shopping behaviours and customer expectations have changed since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The key finding is that consumers want an omnichannel experience. Amid reports that 58% now plan to do all or most of their shopping online (an increase of 23% since before the pandemic), in-store experiences “remain a vital part of a retailer’s multi-channel offering”, it said.
Some 21% of shoppers selected in-store as their preferred channel for customer service, closely followed by e-mail (18%), live web chat (16%) and voice calls (14%). Further, 35% of respondents feel in-store customer service representatives are most trustworthy, with just 25% selecting online channels as their most trusted route for customer support.
“To improve trust in their digital channels, retailers must ensure every touchpoint is capable of delivering a seamless, secure and consistent service experience”, the report advised.
With new electronic communication tools having been developed during the pandemic, customers are realising their benefits for shopping and customer service. Over half (54%) of the consumers who had used video calls for customer service reported a positive experience.
However, with 57% reporting they've never used the channel in this way before, there’s clearly growth potential for retailers to deploy new technology.
Meanwhile, trust in a retailer is also paramount with customers now expecting retailers to know exactly what they want, when they want it, where it needs to be delivered and how.
Indeed, three quarters (76%) of shoppers said they expected a personalised customer experience, with 46% saying it was frustrating when they had to repeat a request. Thirty-five per cent said they expected customer service agents to have immediate background knowledge on their query, and 23% wanted the ability to move between channels without disruption.
However, 55% of UK shoppers said they were not comfortable granting brands and retailer’s permission to collect their data. This desire for personalised service, yet hesitancy to provide brands with their personal details "paints a challenging picture for retailers and underlines the importance of building stronger relationships with customers".
“The pandemic saw almost everything in-store move online and as such, customer behaviours and expectations around the retail experience and customer service changed”, said Jonathan Allan, chief marketing officer at Puzzel.
“Despite largely positive experiences during the pandemic, our research reveals a clear requirement for retailers to deliver more personalised customer service, across a broad range of channels, in-store and online".
He added: “There’s also a clear appetite for more human experiences, demonstrating the potential value in re-creating that in-store experience across digital platforms. The future of retail is hybrid, and the brands that can provide these smarter, connected experiences, will thrive post-pandemic and beyond”.
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