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Industry Research : Self-Service Isn't Enough for Demanding Shoppers
inContact (NASDAQ: SAAS), the leading provider of cloud contact center software and contact center agent optimization tools, today announces the findings of their January 2015 customer experience survey that examined consumer perceptions of service while making online or phone purchases over $25 in the previous 6 months. When feeling dissatisfied with an order, the majority (81% of U.S. adults) prefer assistance from a live representative via phone or online chat rather than using email or online self-service.
The study, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of inContact, from January 29-February 2, 2015 among 2,028 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, reveals that 86% would be very likely to switch to another company in the future after a bad customer service experience.
Contact Center Agents are Alive and Well
The new research, asking about online or phone purchases over $25 in the last six months, shows that consumers are still frequently interacting with company service reps. According to the findings, 43% of U.S. adults who made at least one purchase online of over $25 during the last six months had interacted directly with a company representative at least once, with an average of two interactions. When purchasing via phone, 84% of buyers were in touch with a company representative an average of five times during that time.
"We set out to understand how shoppers interact with companies when they are making purchases online or via phone," noted Paul Jarman, CEO inContact. "Consumers still frequently turn to agent-assisted channels in addition to using self-service options during different stages of the purchase cycle, which makes the contact center a vital link to the customer experience when it matters most—when they are buying."
Majority of Buyers Expect at Least Six Channels of Communication to be Available
The majority of U.S. adults expect companies and ecommerce sites to have available at least six of the tested methods of communication during the online purchasing or ordering stage of the customer service journey, including both agent-supported channels and self-service options.
In order of importance to consumers, the agent-supported channels include:
- Email (93%)
- 1-800 to live reps (81%)
- Online chat (67%)
- Apps for mobile devices (50%)
- SMS/Text message (46%)
- Social networking sites (39%)
- Online video chat (32%)
- Self-service channels are also important to consumers, including online self-service for order tracking (87%) and 1-800 to self-service (53%).
Consumers expect a personalized, omnichannel customer journey that includes agent service continuity and choice of channels for follow-up communications.
A major goal of the study was to gauge consumer desire for personalized and omnichannel experiences when interacting with service representatives. The following findings indicate ways in which companies need to design the customer journey for personalization and consistency across various channels.
- 65% of U.S. adults expect companies to know their purchase history regardless of method of communication (e.g., phone, chat, email).
- Two-thirds (67%) expect to be able to call the same company representative they worked with previously if they had an order or service issue.
- 64% would expect to be able to continue talking with the same company representative on the phone as they were talking with via online chat.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of inContact from January 29-February 2, 2015 among 2,028 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, March 2, 2015