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Online Sales Ramp Up, But 70% Of Customer Service Emails Never Answered

It is no surprise that the lockdown has created significant growth and opportunity for online sales, as many became dependent on online shopping.

Indeed according to ONS figures, the value of internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales grew from 18.8% in May 2019 to 32.8% in May 2020.

Whilst growth under current circumstances isn’t unexpected, many businesess had to quickly adapt and evolve to meet demand whilst at the same time, following the government requirements on distancing and safe working environments.

Delivery companies saw a ‘Christmas like’ surge in demand and many organisations had to rely on home-based customer service centres to satisfy the increase in enquiries and calls.

Will customers keep spending online to such extent now that lockdown is generally easing, or is it possible that many will have faced disappointment and frustration with the retailers and consumer goods companies as one new report suggests?

Netomi have published a Customer Service Benchmark Report comparing the online customer service support for consumers of 973 companies.

  • 44% of companies don’t provide an easy to access email address for customer support
  • 70% of companies that publish an email address never responded when a customer got in contact
  • Only 20% of companies with email addresses responded within 24 hours, the average response being 36 hours
  • And customers are 8 x more likely to get a response to an email on a weekday than a weekend – despite online shopping being a 24/7 world

It is true that customers armed with much more information and choice are expecting more from the organisations they transact with. Yet failures in many online retailers to guide and set expectations of customers on what to expect should they need assistance is an obvious own-goal.

Just as business enjoys the efficiency and speed of email communications andsocial media support functions, so too does the consumer and it is a tale as old as time that issues dealt with in a quick andpersonable manner lead to a greater result for profitability and customer satisfaction.

With all the tools & technology at our fingertips to get this right, how can businesses still be getting it so wrong?

Investment in customer service pays off, we know that happier customers become brand advocates and in turn create more opportunity for a business and brand to be promoted in real life, authentic conversations. The technology available should allow the more savvy company to create the perfect blend of human and tech-driven solutions to deliver both efficient and personable response to customers in a time frame to suit them.

Critical to a more harmonious future between customer and company is the focus of customer service in the boardroom. When a company places customers at the heart of its strategy and doesn’t just pay lip-service to its service obligations, the entire business is purpose driven to deliver it. The report also highlights that with regards to the chance to go above and beyond and fulfilling aspecial request, 83% of companies failed to deliver. 

Yet the news stories and viral videos that have positively portrayed some organisations over the last 3 months, have been the empowered colleagues who have made a big difference to customers’ lives by going above and beyond the call of duty and delivering on a customer promise and more.

The only way to know for sure if the service will be delivered by everyone on the team at every opportunity is to take away the feeling it is a chore on the list, but that it is as natural to all as breathing. Customer Service colleagues that have the support and investment to deliver for the customer will also be more efficient and have less frustrated customers to handle, which is also better for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.

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