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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 14, 2015

Long waits online for customer service lead to cart abandonment

Online shopping may mean dodging lengthy checkout lines, searching for floor staff, and forgoing the endless search for a car parking space, but despite the time saved and convenience of shopping from the comfort of home, consumers still don't like to hang around to wait for customer service.

by Helen Leggatt

When shopping online, customers may have questions regarding their purchases that they need answering tout suite and their choice of channels varies. For retailers, knowing the demands and preferences of their customers is paramount to save a sale.

According to a recent survey by Interactive Intelligence among 1,000 UK consumers, almost half (49%) would abandon an online shopping cart if the retailer did not provide their preferred customer service channel. In fact, a third (30%) admitted they had already done so previously.

"The research demonstrates how important it is to ensure you understand their preferences and offer the right channels for customer engagement," said Dave Paulding, regional director, Interactive Intelligence. "Best-in-class customer engagement has the potential to increase sales considerably."

Among online shoppers in the UK, email came out as the top preferred method of customer service communication, cited by 48%. More traditional communication channels were less popular with in-person and telephone both chosen by only 16%. Just 5% said real-time chat was their preferred method and even less, 2%, said social media.

As well offering the channels consumers expect, retailers need to understand that speed also matters. Three-quarters of those surveyed said they would abandon their shopping cart if customer service representatives were too slow to respond.

Recent data released by UK-based Fresh Relevance appear to show that the rate of shopping cart abandonment is dropping. For Q3 2015 the company reports an abandonment rate of 57.95% compared with a high of 65.35% in Q2 2014, and 59.61% in Q2 2015 .


The reason they report lower abandonment rates than other outfits is, they say, because they do not count a shopper switching devices mid-purchase as an abandonment which, they say, others do.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: cart abandonment, customer service, ecommerce, online shopping

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