Almost half of shoppers—both online and in-store—think retail brands should focus improvement efforts on the customer care experience instead of other service initiatives, such as the shopping or purchase experience, reveals new research from global consulting firm COPC and customer experience network Execs In The Know.
The firms recently announced the results from their first retail industry survey, CXMB Industry Insights: Retail, sponsored by customer service platform Gladly.
CXMB Industry Insights: Retail is aimed at providing insights into consumer opinions and behaviors, specific to the retail industry. Topics in this report include comparisons between online and in-store shoppers in the areas of pre-purchase research, shopping, customer care, drivers of mobile device shoppers, and the multi-channel experience.
Findings reveal differences and similarities between online and in-store shoppers when it comes to the customer journey. For example, online shoppers prefer to resolve issues via email, while in-store shoppers strongly prefer in-person service. However, both groups had low preference for self-serve solutions, including self-help and automated tools.
Additionally, responses between online and in-store shoppers are strikingly consistent when respondents describe what is most important to them when interacting with a retailer to resolve an issue. Customers want agents who provide clear communication, listen patiently, understand the issue, express empathy, and are empowered to break away from the script to get issues resolved.
- In the event of a customer care issue, 68 percent of online shoppers and 75 percent of in-store shoppers would rather interact with a human versus a self-help system to resolve the issue.
- Among consumers who frequently shop from their mobile device, 44 percent would choose email as their preferred communication method with a brand compared to just six percent who would choose a phone call as their preferred communication method.
- Thirty-five percent of survey respondents think retail companies do a better job of providing a positive customer experience compared to other industries.
“We know retail brands have a huge opportunity to differentiate themselves by providing an exceptional customer experience. We conducted this survey to show real customer needs and to provide actionable data that all retailers should consider to improve customer satisfaction and increase loyalty,” said Kathleen Jezierski, chief operating officer at COPC Inc., in a news release.
CXMB Industry Insights: Retail is the second in a series of industry-specific reports and is an extension of the Customer Experience Management Benchmark (CXMB) series, also published in partnership between COPC and Execs In The Know. See the first industry-specific report, which examined travel and hospitality, here.
“CXMB Industry Insights allows us to dive deeper into various industries and provide relevant insights that our community members in each vertical are seeking,” said Chad McDaniel, president of Execs In The Know, in the release. “Our retail survey offers information about consumer perceptions, expectations and behaviors so that our community can have a better understanding of the customer landscape in online and brick-and-mortar retail.”