There’s no denying that the growth of the Internet has made it an important means for companies to advertise and sell their products and services online to customers, and engage them as well. Not only has the World Wide Web improved operational efficiency and helped boost profitability, but it has also provided real-time business intelligence (RTBI) for ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management) and Ecommerce (electronic commerce).
The Web, including the computer and information technology that goes along with it, has made it possible to better satisfy consumer needs: from reaching out to customers with websites and social media sites, to providing Internet-based services and business-to-consumer marketing strategies, carrying out online sales and transactions, and engaging in an online shopping experience.
Businesses are finding the Web capable of expanding their customer reach – using service-based websites – to bring in more clientele, easily and effectively. One can say it has become an integral part of the customer engagement strategy as well as a marketing tool to sell products and services.
According to a survey carried out by Deloitte (News - Alert) Touche Tohmatsu (DTTL), a U.K. private company, more and more people are turning to the Web to find the best products and services. Reasons range from having direct access to customized services via a customer-facing Web portal, to being able to obtain information and items they’re looking for anytime, anywhere 24/7.
Last week, LivePerson (News - Alert) Inc., a source of intelligent engagement solutions, revealed its recent in-depth study Connecting with Customers report, “ The Ideal Online Experience: What it Takes for Consumers to Click, Not Abandon,” which examined the trends in online attitudes and behaviors of consumers in six different countries to identify their changes and the ways they have affected online preferences and customer expectations.
The report, based on a survey of more than 5,700 online consumers, provided numerous need-to-know online customer service statistics. It discovered customer trends and key findings that show online consumer expectations are rapidly increasing.
LivePerson’s statistic reveals that 83 percent of online shoppers require support to complete a purchase. Without help online and to customers directly, some chose to abandon a purchase as they couldn’t find the information they needed, or didn’t receive the highest satisfaction for promptness and speed of service.
The majority of consumers look for real-time help. They expect the website to provide the support at the point where customers need it or a customer service representative to come on the line to provide the necessary assistance within five minutes – or they walk.
For the ideal online experience, live help must be available.
Apparently, the online community has become an “on-demand” generation where speedy access, quick downloads, faster connections and up-front customer service and engagement are expected. Customers want the experience to be effortless, fast, and not buried in data they don’t need.
Consumers identified “A+ customer service” as having three factors: speedy service, friendly customer service and answers to questions or issues in a single interaction.
Customers via live chat, for instance, can receive consultative guidance and get the help they need before an online purchase. Even a call center can be useful to deliver a superior customer experience.
For a good online experience, customers want to be able to contact or speak to an online customer service rep, or have a phone number or e-mail point-of-contact for someone to do follow-ups, call back or provide feedback on inquiries.
Half of today’s online consumers are said to give up immediately if they do not have some form of customer service channel. They become impatient and frustrated and abandon any website that does not provide a quality service.
Indeed, customer experience is a key differentiator in having a consumer click and not abandons a site. By exceeding the expectations of their customers, businesses of all sizes can prosper.