Consumers demand more choice for help online

By Tony Heyworth

Globally 59% would like more choice in how they contact online brands when browsing and shopping online, according to the Connecting with Customers Report commissioned by LivePerson.

The Connecting with Customers Report surveyed over 5,700 online consumers from the UK, USA, Australia, France, Germany and Italy to identify how a change in consumer behaviour is leading to a gap between the expectation of online service levels and the reality of what organisations are able to deliver.

The report found that consumers equally prefer online engagement tools and more traditional customer services. 57% would like to have access to Live Chat vs. 60% who would like to phone customer services.

93% of online shoppers see a benefit in Live Chat with Italy (98%) seeing real time help as most useful when shopping, followed by the USA (94%), UK (93%), Australia (93%), France (92%) and Germany (88%). 41% confirmed they would have greater trust in a website offering Live Chat. Due to its immediacy and the ability to get a query resolved in a single interaction, 73% responded as satisfied with their overall experience of the service – higher satisfaction than for email or call centres.

The findings confirm that a great online customer service experience boils down to speed (82%) and simplicity (56%). Providing customers with easy navigation and assistance when and where required is cited as a key reason for choosing one web site over another. The findings also highlight the consequences of not meeting these needs, with 48% of respondents stating that they would abandon the web site, and even a full shopping cart, if they couldn’t access online help quickly. Consumers in the UK are more likely to shop elsewhere or abandon a purchase altogether if they don’t receive this help (58%) with Italy (39%) least likely to abandon if they don’t receive help in their expected timeframe.

Key findings from the Connecting with Customers Report:

• Keeping it simple: beyond product and price, the key reason people choose one website over another is ease of browsing (67%) with the UK (77%) and Australia (74%) leading the way.

• Why abandonment occurs: the top reasons for abandoning a purchase were unexpected delivery costs (70%), lack of product/service/delivery information (56%), navigation difficulties (37%) and difficulty in getting help (30%). Compared to the UK, USA, Australia, France and Germany, Italian shoppers cited fewer reasons for shopping cart abandonment and are least likely to abort purchases.

• Benefits of Live Chat: the key benefits are seen to be immediacy (66%), convenience (39%), not having to wait in a queue (36%) and being able to explain a query in detail (35%).

Consumers abandon a website if they don’t receive the level of customer service they expect. Consumers now want a choice of different help channels, and expect Live Chat to be available as much as traditional call centre and email options. A customer will return to the site if it’s easy to get help, simple to use and allows them to quickly and easily complete their purchase. By addressing these issues and offering greater choice, businesses will provide customers with the sort of online experience that will keep them coming back for more, reducing abandonment and bounce rates.

To download a copy of the report visit: Connecting with Customers.

Methodology

The Connecting with Customers Report was commissioned by LivePerson at the end of 2012 and created by independent research consultants, Loudhouse. The survey was comprised of more than 5,710 online shoppers who had either researched or bought products, or accessed customer services, from a range of different websites. Consumers were surveyed from 6 different countries: USA (2012), UK (1126), Australia (1002), France (538), Italy (530) and Germany (502).

About the author

Tony Heyworth is Marketing Director for LivePerson International, responsible for marketing and business development across both EMEA and Asia Pacific. With over 25 years’ experience in software and services marketing, and with a unique blend of finance, sales and online marketing experience, Tony and his team lead the strategy for growing LivePerson’s online engagement revenues and establishing the online channel as a critical force for new customer acquisition and customer service. Prior to LivePerson, Tony held the position of EMEA Marketing Director at both Interwoven and Polycom and UK Marketing Director at Business Objects. Each of these companies, and now LivePerson, are the number one in their respective markets.

About LivePerson

LivePerson, Inc. (Nasdaq: LPSN) offers a cloud-based platform that enables businesses to proactively connect in real-time with their customers via chat, voice, and content delivery at the right time, through the right channel, including websites, social media, and mobile devices. This "intelligent engagement" is driven by real-time behavioral analytics, producing connections based on a true understanding of business objectives and customer needs.

www.liveperson.com   

Twitter: @LivePerson  

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LivePersonInc  

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