We researched online customer service expectations, and we are sharing the results with you
We asked more than 200 customers about their expectations for online customer service to find out what makes them commit to a company. Keeping your customers apprised is the basis of your future income, so you should take their opinions into account. Even we were surprised by some of the answers. We’ll share the major points with you so you can look at how your own customer service works.
Gain a competitive edge by providing your clients with the perfect customer service experience.
As part of our research, we wanted to find out what the key considerations are when searching online, and what scares your potential buyers off. If potential buyers don’t get their answers quickly, they will take their business elsewhere.
3 essential features expected from customer service:
At first, they seem like common sense, but we wanted to dig deep to understand what exactly customers meant by them.
From the consumer’s point of view, the big advantage of searching online is that you can compare any given service/product. 76% of them do comparisons. This means that you paid a small fortune for ads, got your visitors, but if you don’t meet their expectations, only 24% will stay, and out of that 24%, not everyone will make a purchase. Obviously, you can spend even more on ads, and the overall results may improve, but it’s a significantly cheaper solution if you improve your migration rate. You can catch more people, for example, with stellar customer service.
How can you convert potential customers into buyers?
If you provide them with an epic customer service experience, they’ll feel compelled to buy from you. When you achieve this, the price is no longer the deciding factor, even if they compare you to others.
In our research, we also asked about what forms of online customer service should be available.
Online shopping has introduced a lot of changes in our lives. We make different decisions and our expectations are different. However, our research confirmed that one thing has not changed: live, personal customer service vs robots and automation is still essential.
No matter how much we believe we are making rational decisions when purchasing online, this is not the case. We get a ton of emotional stimuli even in the virtual world, which ultimately makes someone else rich.
Automated/robot chat is favored by only 3%, yet it is used on more and more sites and businesses try to exchange human interactions with artificial intelligence. Surely you could list countless instances when you got frustrated with automated customer service. Not surprisingly, our research found, only 1% of us marked this as the ideal solution. If you want our advice, avoid automated solutions when serving customers.
Top 3 preferred contact options
- Email – where you get personalized information, not an automated response
- Direct telephone contact – where they listen to your request and get you the help you need
- Live chat with real people – where you can ask your own questions and get answers. Otherwise, you could just read the “Frequently Asked Questions” section on the website.
There was no preference between email, phone, and live chat. They are all equally popular.
When clients turn to customer service, they don’t like automated replies because they don’t answer their questions in a personalized, professional way.
In 89% of the 465 responses, a personal, interactive relationship was preferred by customers. It is crucial that phone calls are not answered by an automated answering service, that e-mails are not one-size-fits-all letters, but that customers get an answer tailored to their own burning questions.
With an overwhelming majority, 95% of respondents said they would prefer live chat over chatbots if they could choose. No matter how carefully you try to teach a robot frequently asked questions and answers, it can never provide the level of care that human service can.
This was the area we were completely taken aback by. It is because of our accelerated life that we want to get everything, to know everything in the blink of an eye.
Only 8% of respondents are patiently waiting to receive a reply. The rest, i.e. 92% of the respondents, will look for answers somewhere else after a very short while. This is devastating news for your company. It could prove difficult to lure these customers back. If a potential customer is interested in a product or service, the first and overwhelming impression will be that they have not received a quick answer to their question.
In terms of availability, email was picked as a popular way of contact and we were also curious as to what the ideal response time would be. Here, of course, we are not talking about automated emails, but a customized response. And a response time of more than one day is acceptable for only 3%. It is safe to say that a response time of one day is already a basic requirement for almost everyone.
There is a significant gap between expectations and reality. In practice, 42% found themselves waiting for a response for a week. This result falls short of basic customer expectations. This is great news for you, as it is an area where you can surpass your competitors. Put a big emphasis on speed so you can save a bunch of money that you would have spent on ads to hunt down new visitors for your site.
Customers want to get answers to questions on chat and Facebook in the blink of an eye. Only 9% of the respondents said that the one-day response time was ideal for them. The other respondents indicated a reaction time of 1 hour. Compared to e-mail, clients expect social media to be even faster. Answering a question in a chat is also more complicated because if you don’t answer, and the browser is closed, you won’t have a chance to answer their question anymore.
With such high expectations, the question is, should you be present on online platforms?
The answer is clearly YES, as out of 210 answers, only 7 people stated that they rarely or not at all search online if they want to buy something. It’s no coincidence that the saying “Google is your friend” is popular.
If you provide customer service to your clients through an online service and you respond to inquiries within an hour, maybe even within a minute, you already deliver the customer service experience that made them choose you.
Examine how your customer service works and think about how well it meets your clients’ expectations. If you fall behind implementing the results revealed by the research, you may lose valuable customers that you did not even know about. In any case, this means a serious outage for your company. Be sure to make the necessary changes.