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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : November 21, 2012

Shoppers shun stores for online to get better customer service

Consumers pick ecommerce over bricks-and-mortar stores because, reveals the ClickFox 2012 Holiday Customer Service Audit, they feel they get better customer service online.

by Helen Leggatt

There are many reasons for avoiding the stores during the holiday season. Crowds, lack of parking, queues, out-of-stock items and, perhaps, the weather. But there's a new reason rearing its head - customer service.

According to the survey of 213 consumers, conducted by customer analytics firm ClickFox in October this year, 62% plan to shop online this holiday season. The reason given by 78% of those planning to shop online was that online stores provided far better customer service.

Retailers that fail to provide exceptional in-store customer service risk losing customers to their online competitors, and this is particularly true during the busy holiday season when many temporary personnel are employed.

"As we've seen with analysis of more than 12 billion customer touch points annually, when retailers fail to resolve customer service inquiries at the first point of service, companies can expect increased service overhead and decreased customer loyalty as consumers are forced to utilize multiple service channels to resolve their issues," said Marco Pacelli, CEO, ClickFox.

ClickFox VP, Jeff Gossman, says stores must improve their use of technology to allow in-store staff to enhance their customer service performance. "It's crucial during the holidays, when people's lists are long and their time is limited, to be able to quickly lead them to the right aisle or to the location across town that has the item they need," he said.

Tags: bricks and mortar, consumer insight, customer service, ecommerce, holiday 2012 trends, in-store, online shopping

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