Providing contact options for customers is a pretty basic requirement for online retailers, yet often users are forced to hunt around on websites for contact details.
While email can be a useful contact method, responses are rarely instant, so a contact number should be provided for customer support. yet so many retailers don't seem to want customers to call them.
Online retailers still need to work on customer services, with slow responses to customer queries among the areas which need improvement.
The latest e-Customer Service Index survey by eDigitalResearch and IMRG, which asked 10,000 respondents, scored 76.7% overall, compared with 79.6% in November 2008. Providing online help and the speed of response to customer enquiries were the main issues.
When confronted with poor standards of customer service online, 94% of respondents to a survey said they would seek out a competitor or stop using the company's website altogether.
The survey, commissioned by nGeneraCIM, highlights the importance of meeting the needs of customers online, with 91% of UK web users saying thet customer service is important when buying online.
You'd think downtimes would be good times to make shoppers happy. Heck, even New York's toniest restaurents are getting downright obsequious with the customers they once very nearly snubbed.
Yet the e-tailing group's 11th annual Mystery Shopping Study, conducted in Q4 2008, found the overwhelming majority of online retailers are falling flat in nine critical areas of customer service.
To qualify as "top performing," 100 online retailers were ranked on specific benchmarking criteria. The survey eliminates sites that don't possess the following "must have" criteria, in order of importance:
1. Toll-free telephone number present
2. Keyword search
3. Four or fewer days to receive package
4. Adequately and correctly answer e-mail question within 24 hours; provide a specific answer
5. CSR product knowledge when calling toll-free number, 2.0 or higher on a scale of 3.0
6. Six or fewer clicks to checkout
7. Email shipping confirmation sent
8. Email order confirmation sent with order number included
9. Real time inventory in shopping cart or product page