Customer Experience News & Trends

There’s something wrong with this online service tool — and here’s how to fix it

Customers love to browse, learn and get help online. But they don’t always trust what you tell them.

Customers often don’t buy what they read online — and they have good reason. Nearly a third of customers say the companies they deal with online don’t provide correct information through digital channels. A quarter of customers said they flat-out don’t trust what they see on digital channels, according to Accenture’s Annual Global Consumer Pulse Research.

Almost another 20% said the online information is confusing and they don’t even know how to access it.

Where the problem sits

The biggest culprits for failed online communication, according to researchers:

  • An outdated customer model. Companies still provide information based on this path — discovery, consideration, evaluation, purchase. In reality, customers have so much information at all times, they can jump straight from discovery to purchase if they have the right information in the right place.
  • A disjointed experience. Many companies believe that if they offer several channels for customers to use to get information, make inquiries, purchase and get help, they’re doing a good job. Customers like that, but they expect it to be seamless. If they do something in one channel, it should be known and reflected in other channels.

Solving the problem

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to increasing customer trust in the online experience. But there are ways to make yourself more trustworthy.

Here’s a solid example from a company that made a small change with a huge impact:

Canadian Tire wanted customers to be able to go on its website to access more product information and get their most basic questions answered. It imagined that would make the online experience better and free up customer service reps to handle more complex issues.

At first, Canadian Tire added frequently asked questions to the website, but found that customers didn’t always go to them because their questions were about specific products or services.

That gave marketers and customer service leaders the idea to make it easier to ask questions about specific items right when customers looked at them online.

So the company added a Q&A feature to almost all its product pages. Customers could post questions or search those that were already asked and answered specific to the product they were looking at in that moment.

It also gave customers the opportunity to answer others’ questions. Sometimes service reps didn’t even have to get involved!

The result: The company got 28% fewer calls on products that had one question asked and answered on its website, 68% fewer calls on products with two questions and answers, and 81% fewer calls on products with three or more questions and answers.

Clearly, customers trusted what they read online.

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