Some people say shopping online is now more normal than offline. Well, that’s big words, but they are true. However, people are expecting at least the same customer service online as offline.
Changes & Develop
As online retail grows, customer experience assumes greater importance. The major problem is that consumers cannot get style advice or touch the product, leading to returns. As a result, more and more retailers are using technology to simulate online in-store shopping.
Online shops started offering personal styling advice during the pandemic crisis. Customers are given styling advice by means of a virtual tour of the shop. Shoppers also can schedule an online appointment via the web shop via different apps. During these appointments, the customer talks with a shop employee via a webcam. What’s more, in some shops you have a chance to select products with the help of augmented reality. Thanks to smartphones and desktops, users can try on something in 3D via their camera.
Customers’ can tell much more than you think! Look at the statistics below:
- 91% say they are willing to use a webshop more often after a positive experience,
- 77% share a positive experience,
- 73% of consumers remain loyal to a company whose agents are friendly,
- 70% would spend more at a webshop that has good customer service.
- 55% of consumers say that they would become a customer at your webshop because of its reputation for good customer service,
- 66% will switch to a competitor if they are treated in an impersonal manner,
- 60% will not return to your company after one bad experience,
- 50% will tell others about a bad experience,
- 41% state that they would spend less at your webshop after a bad experience.
That’s not the end! If we’re talking about their expectations about customer service, they say that:
- 59% of them indicate that they have raised their customer service standards during the COVID pandemic,
- 83% expect to speak to someone on the first attempt,
- 76% expect the option of being able to choose between different contact channels,
- 65% hope all agents have access to the same information so that they do not have to explain their situation all over again.
We discuss for you six segments and their customer care situation: Fashion, Electronics, Home & Garden, Sports & Hobbies, Personal care, and B2B. Here we go!
As shops were closed, fashion sales shifted entirely to e-commerce. In addition, as a result of the lack of assistance in stationery shops, online shoppers and clothing stores tended to interact more. What’s interesting, more and more fashion retailers are registering supplementary relevant information from customers in their system – with the customer’s explicit consent, of course. For example, customer information such as shoe size, waist measurement, and favorite color is stored.
In this way, the customer service staff can offer each customer personal style advice down to the smallest detail!
By the end of 2021, 38% of all purchases in the electronics sector are expected to take place online. The percentage of internet purchases combined with the technical nature of the products means that well-informed customer service is an absolute must in this industry.
According to research by Techsee, 72% of consumers say that excellent customer service helps prevent returns. In addition, 71% of consumers say that an agent with a great deal of product knowledge could change their mind about returning a product. Finally, 45% of consumers say that product videos in which experts explain everything about a product can be helpful.
Home & Garden
Furniture and garden items are more likely to be bought in physical stores than other product categories. Corona is also changing purchasing behavior in this area. Statista predicts that 15% of furniture and household items will be purchased online by 2021. With the closing of physical stores and showrooms, the customer service and the customer experience in the Home & Garden market are changing rapidly. Customers must be treated differently.
In some online shops, customer service virtually guides customers from the beginning to the end of the purchasing process. Thanks to visual customer service, online interaction now feels like an in-store experience.
Sport & Hobby
During the Corona pandemic, the online sports and hobby segment grew tremendously. Fitness centers and other sports facilities closed, and exercise had to be done at home. Sports and fitness brands encouraged people to exercise more following the pandemic – partly due to their own initiatives.
Companies’ customer services have been busy staying connected with consumers during the lockdowns, as the sports brands noticed a vast growth of interest in sport and hobbies. As a result, they started to create new fitness apps and demonstrate home workouts.
Customer service is a key to the personal care segment. In 2021, 17% of 1.4 billion purchases are expected to be made online in the personal care segment. Online customer service therefore absolutely merits attention in 2021. Therefore, online beauty brands need to pay a lot of attention to it. By email, or phone the brand is in direct contact with customers. Also, social media keep customers informed.
The customer service team is a customer experience team. Adapt your language to the target group and provide personal advice like the bests in this category.
Good customer service has great value – it’s obvious. Business customers indicate that 79% of their decisions have been influenced by customer service. Business consumers expect more and more from B2B companies. Optimization of the customer experience involves balancing self-service and full-service in addition to an omnichannel approach.
B2B customers usually pay more than B2C customers and expect the quality of customer service to reflect this. In B2B, the most common touchpoints for customers are live chats, voice chats, and emails. More than half of B2B customers would like to communicate with an agent in real-time. A live chat or video call can be used for this.
Eight countries, many possibilities
Now, let’s take a look at eight different countries: The Netherlands, Germany, UK, Italy, France, Spain, Poland, USA, and their ecommerce customer care.
The main channels of communication in the Netherlands are telephone and email. Furthermore, more and more customers expect companies to be available through the channels they prefer. As well as the most popular social media channels Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, customers want access to Twitter and SMS. Therefore, the TOP three contact channels are telephone, email, and chat.
The most common methods for reaching customer service in Germany are by telephone and email. 56% of viewers choose it as their favorite or one of their favorites across both channels. Online chat is also frequently mentioned by 23% of respondents. In addition, German consumers value most friendliness and helpfulness of agents – 52%, prompt service – 38%, and being kept informed during every step of the process – 32%.
In the United Kingdom, consumers prefer to be contacted by phone. 58% of consumers rate this as their favorite option. After that, email is the most selected option, followed by online chat. 46% prefer to contact customers via online chat options such as live chat or social media. 52% of customers want the phone to be answered within 5 minutes, and 48% will end a chat session if their problem is not resolved within 5 minutes.
Italian consumers prefer email over the telephone as their preferred means of customer service. As a result, online chat options are becoming increasingly popular. The favorite contact channels are email, telephone, and online chat.
Customers in France typically contact customer service via a variety of channels. Initially, they prefer to be contacted by phone, then by email. Live chat and social media are becoming increasingly popular, with 21% of consumers saying they prefer them. Customer service is often frustrating for French consumers. 47% of them were redirected to another agent and repeated the question again, and 30% slow response during a chat session.
Most Spanish consumers prefer to contact customer service by phone (66%) or email (60%). Only 11% of respondents mention online chat (social media, live chat). The most frequently used social media platforms in Spain are Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram. Spanish consumers are often irritated by being put on hold and being redirected.
Polish consumers prefer to call customer service. Email replies are too slow for Polish consumers. Along with traditional channels, chat and social media have also become increasingly popular. These are widely regarded as having the advantage of efficiency and speed among Polish consumers. The favorite contact channels in order are telephone, email, online chat.
The United States
Consumers in the United States prefer to be contacted by phone, with 65% rating it as their favorite. Email is next with 43%, followed by online chat options (39%). In addition, American consumers value most friendliness and helpfulness of agents – 61%, prompt service with a good solution – 48%, and being kept informed during every step of the process 36%.
To sum up
To help you create an optimal customer care experience, we have taken a closer look at customer care per segment and country. Customer service plays an essential role in online shopping experiences. Hence, it looks like the customer service sector is becoming less and less a cost item and more of a growth pillar.