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Industry Research : Could Cyber Monday Have Been Better?
Online retailers are poised for a record $43.4 billion holiday sales season as shoppers increasingly rely on social networks and mobile devices to find and buy merchandise, according to market researcher ComScore Inc., but research also indicates retailers are leaving plenty of consumers’ cash on the cyber-table.
Online sales would be significantly greater if online shoppers had easier access to customer service assistance when they need it, concludes a national study conducted by The Adcom Group for Virtual Hold Technology(R) (VHT(R)), a world leader in conversation strategies that bridge the self-service gap between customers and the people who can help.
Internet sales on Cyber Monday were 36 percent higher than on Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, IBM said. Apple Inc.’s iPad and iPhone were the top two devices used for online purchases, accounting for about 14 percent of the total. More than 18 percent of shoppers used a mobile device to access a retailer’s website, an increase of 70 percent over 2011, also according to IBM. Mobile sales almost doubled, making up 13 percent of total web-based purchases.
But in a recent survey by VHT, more than three-quarters of shoppers attempting to make an online purchase said they had been frustrated trying to obtain help when experiencing difficulty completing the purchase. About the same number said they had abandoned an online shopping cart due to frustration with getting the help they needed.
Quick problem resolution shows a clear correlation to the likelihood of brand, website or app referral as well as to purchase behavior. A majority of those surveyed said they would purchase more products from a website that allowed them to click or tap for customer service help. More than 75 percent said they would prefer a site that offered this convenience over a competitor’s site that did not, and more than half said they would become promoters of the brand.
"The power is squarely in the palm of the customer’s hand," said Wes Hayden, VHT’s CEO. "Customer-focused retailers that identify and eliminate self-service dead-ends within the mobile-purchasing process will be the brands that provide the best and most seamless customer experience and, as a result, will earn the most customer loyalty."
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Published: Monday, December 3, 2012