Consumers are willing to spend 9% more on a product if they receive superior customer service, according to research from cloud-based contact centre technology provider, Puzzel.
The finding, published in Puzzel’s Retail Smart Guide: Tips for delivering smarter shopping experiences, was drawn from a survey commissioned by the company into the shopping opinions and preferences of 1,000 UK consumers in July. The research reveals how shopping behaviours and customer expectations have changed towards superior service and personalisation since the Covid-19 pandemic and advises how retailers must react to the shifting dynamic.
Consumers want an omnichannel experience
Amid reports that 58% of customers now plan to do all or most of their shopping online (an increase of 23% since before the pandemic), the research finds in-store experiences remain a vital part of a retailer’s multi-channel offering. In fact, 21% of shoppers selected in-store as their preferred channel for customer service, closely followed by email (18%), live web chat (16%) and voice calls (14%).
Further to this, over a third (35%) of respondents feel in-store customer service representatives are most trustworthy – perhaps tapping into people’s renewed desire for human experiences – with just one in four (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.
New communication tools impressing shoppers
During the pandemic, millions of people used video every day to communicate with their colleagues, friends and family. Now customers are realising the benefits of shopping and customer service too. Over half (54%) of the consumers surveyed by Puzzel who had used video calls for customer service reported a positive experience. However, with 57% reporting to have never used the channel in this way before, there’s clearly growth potential for retailers to deploy the new technology.
Personalisation is key, but so is trust
Customers now expect 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 nearly half (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 a quarter (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. 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,” Jonathan Allan, Chief Marketing Officer at Puzzel, said.
“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.” Allan added.
For retailers looking to build a superior customer service strategy, Puzzel’s Retail Smart Guide advises:
- Connect in-store, voice and digital experiences: Customers don’t see each customer service channel as a separate experience – they see every interaction as part of the full brand experience. From email to web chat, voice to video or in-store, retailers can connect their in-store, voice and digital experiences by consolidating all channels and data into one platform for agents with a complete interaction history for every customer.
- Serve a mix of channels: Customers want to be able to contact retailers through the channels most convenient to them. There is no one-size-fits-all channel for customer service, and with more people now shopping online, it’s clear that retailers need to offer a range of both trusted and innovative channels to improve online trust and maximise engagement and sales potential.
- Work on improving trust: Personalisation is now a key driver for customer satisfaction, but retailers need to improve trust around data by showing tangible use cases.
- Ensure your contact centre solution meets ISO standards: Solutions that meet these standards can be trusted to deliver the highest quality service for customers.