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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 12, 2013

Poor in-store service pushes festive shoppers online

A new survey by experience analytics firm ClickFox reveals that most negative shopping experiences happen in-store on the sales floor, another reason why over half of consumers are turning to the Internet to shop during the festive season.

by Helen Leggatt

The majority of respondents (55%) to ClickFox's survey said they are going online to do the bulk of their festive shopping to avoid negative customer service experiences in brick-and-mortar stores.

Among respondents, many said that the most negative experiences they encountered during their shopping experiences were encountered on the shop floor, or during the exchange process in-store. Customer service hotlines, sales floor representatives and the returns process were all identified as the worst service touch points during the holiday period.

The most likely reasons for the downturn in customer service being provided, particularly in the case of sales floor staff, is the numbers of temporary seasonal staff hired during the festive season. Often these staff aren't given adequate training or do not have the experience to cope with the surge in shopper numbers. Twenty-nine percent of respondents cited sales staff as being the worst service touch point.

However, customer service hotlines were rated as the worst service touch points during the holidays by 31% of respondents.

Consumers were most likely to respond to a negative in-store service experience by contacting a member of store management (32%), emphasizing the need for stores to resolve service issues on-the-spot or risk escalation to contact centers or, worse still, 16% will go on to leave a negative review online.

"Consumers continue to prefer online retailers over going to the store. It's convenient. They can easily see if the product is in stock and compare prices," says Marco Pacelli, ClickFox CEO. "Negative in store experiences also encourages new brand journeys where consumers purchase product and resolve service issues in new or untraditional channels."

Tags: brick-and-mortar, customer experience, customer service, in-store experience, online shopping

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