Customer Experience News & Trends

What customers hate — and love — about online service

As much as customers love the convenience of online service, they hate some of the nuances.

In fact, some online trends are about as ill-fated as mullets and bell bottoms.

Here are three things customers hate about online service, according to an industry report from IntelliResponse Systems Inc. Even better, though, are the three things that follow, which they love — and you’ll want to incorporate — or continue providing — in your online services.

Hate #1: Slow answers

More than half of online customers will abandon an online shopping cart they’ve already filled if they can’t find a quick answer to their questions, a Forrester Research Inc., study found. Even worse, most of them will just move to another company with a few swipes of the mouse to get what they want.

Tip: If you offer point-of-sale online, you have to be able to give immediate answers when customers shop — just like you would if a customer was in a physical store. You don’t necessarily have to offer chat, but if you don’t it’s best to post a toll-free number on every web page and be staffed so service reps can pick up phone immediately if customers call with a question about what they see online.

Hate #2: Unreliable data

The good news is that 75% of customers prefer to use online support, so they won’t even bother your service pros with basic questions and issues, a Coleman Parkes survey found. Their gripe is that online support is often unreliable, and the most accurate, up-to-date information isn’t always available.

Tip: The best online service providers create a role for online content quality control. At least one person checks data at least daily and updates it as needed so customers and service pros see the most accurate, current information.

Hate #3: Quiet experiences

Customers say the ideal online customer service experience involves live chat when they need it. In fact, more than 60% say they’d more likely return to a site if the company offered live chat, a Forrester Research report found.

Tip: Customers will always call with complex and emotional issues. But there will be fewer of those if customer service reps can solve the little issues via chat on first contact. So invest in more chat training and resources.

Love #1: Customer history

Customers love it when they call and a service rep knows about the chat they had the previous day, an email from last week and another call before that. Consistency across channels is key to a great overall experience.

Tip: Customers expect that the person who picks up the phone will know all about them and their history with the issue or the company over time. Sure, the right resources in place will help manage that history and make it possible for service pros to see what’s happened and should happen. But it’s only as effective as the people following through with the information. Training will ensure front-line employees know how to input the right data. Incentives will ensure they actually do it.

Love #2: Mobile

Mobile is nothing new. But the desire to do everything they can do from a desk or their home while on the go is something customers crave and demand now. In fact, a Kelsey Report predicts that mobile searches — for products, service providers, comparisons and information in general — will generate more than almost 187 billion more queries than desktop searches by next year.

Tip: Go mobile. The best way is to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Even better, make it possible for customers to contact Customer Service with one touch on each mobile-friendly page.

Love #3: Ease

Universal forms, customer portals and online scheduling are just three of customers’ favorite things that have made doing business easier. Customers like that they have less work on their side of relationships — and they’ll continue to buy from and partner with the companies that make it easiest to do business.

Tip: Meet regularly with front-line customer service professionals to map and go through the customer journey. They can recognize the things that tie them up the most, and likely bother customers, too. Then work on ways to eliminate those delays, issues or hiccups.

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