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Report shows that online customers expect same level of help and service as in-store

A new report has revealed that 71% of global online consumers expect to be able to access help from retailers within five minutes, and 48% will take their business elsewhere unless this help is forthcoming within the expected timeframe.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Report shows that online customers expect same level of help and service as in-store

Findings from the Connecting with Customers Report, commissioned by LivePerson show that there are three distinct levels of consumers – dependent shoppers who actively require additional help, semi-dependent shoppers who are largely self-sufficient, and self-sufficient shoppers who viewed themselves as advisers.

Of all the countries surveyed, Italy had significantly more dependent shoppers than any other at 46%, whilst Australia had the least number of self-sufficient shoppers at 10%. In the UK the percentage  of dependent shoppers was 27%.

The report surveyed over 5,700 online consumers from the UK, USA, Australia, France, Germany and Italy to identify how a change in consumer behaviour is leading to a gap between the expectation of online service levels and the reality of what organisations are able to deliver.

Whilst more consumers were found to be happier seeking out help in-store than online, 83% admitted that they needed some form of support during their online journey. 51% of those surveyed said they would give up immediately or after just one attempt to seek help before an online purchase was abandoned. German, British and Australian consumers were the most likely to give up whilst Italians and French showed the most perseverance. 

The report also revealed that 71% of those surveyed expected to be able to access help when purchasing online within five minutes, whilst 31% expected this help to be immediate. Speed of information was less important to users in Germany and Australia than to those in the UK, USA, Italy or France. If this support did not come within their expected time frame, 48% said they would go elsewhere or abandon the purchase altogether – with the highest figures in the UK at 58%.

When asked what makes a great customer service experience, 82% said getting their issue resolved quickly was most important while 56% cited resolving the issue in a single interaction.

Globally, 83% of online users admitted that they need some form of support during their online journey. The UK was the least likely to seek out help at 13%, whilst Italy was the most likely at 43%.

59% of respondents said they would like to have more choice in how they contact online brands with 93% seeing real time help being of use in at least one online shopping scenario. 

Tony Heyworth, international marketing director of LivePerson, said: "There seems to be a perception among consumers and businesses that the web is a self-service environment. But the reality is that online consumers expect and need to find the same levels of help and customer service as they would in a physical store.

"To retain customers and really improve customer loyalty, online businesses need to be able to identify the levels and type of help that consumers require, based on their behaviours, and respond accordingly." 


 

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