Negative reviews and ratings are the single factor most likely to spur UK shoppers to abandon their online baskets, a study has found.
Newly-published research from customer service technology company eGain found that 30% of British online buyers would abandon their purchases because they’d seen negative reviews or ratings. Unclear or confusing expectations of service were the most offputting factor cited across Europe, with 26% of respondents to the pan-European study citing this factor, and 21% citing over-long payment and sign-up processes.
Factors that encouraged them to complete their purchases included a good website FAQ (38%) and a fast response to an email (41%). Social recommendations and a telephone call with the business were cited by 22% and 24% respectively as ‘influential’ or ‘very influential’.
The eGain 2012 cross-industry benchmark report for multichannel customer experience surveyed 3,000 consumers across Europe. It was commissioned by eGain Comunications Corporation and carried out by Vision Critical. The study covered the internet retailing industry as well as manufacturing, travel and leisure, telecoms, utilities, and finance.
Compared to the other industries, consumers rated internet retailing most highly. Retailers as a group scored five out of five. The industry was rated excellent by 21% for the first interaction, by 16% for their follow-up approach, and 19% for their success in ‘meeting expectations and engendering loyalty.’
Andrew Mennie, general manager, eGain EMEA, said: “The power of consumer opinion, expressed via social media, is now too significant to ignore. Not only are social reviews highly influential at the start of the customer experience, but social channels are also an increasingly important part of the customer interaction mix as that journey progresses.
“Add to this consumers’ tendency to channel-hop and a unified approach to multichannel service becomes key to providing the consistent and content-aware experiences that today’s consumers demand.”
The study also found that email (48%) and phone (32%) were the most preferred channels for making a complaint. Some 17% would use web chat or social media. When asked to add a second channel to their complaint, 13% chose social media.
Respondents were also asked what channels were best for sending them a sales offer that they would consider. Some 61% would consider a promotional email offer for a complementary product, and 59% a loyalty reward offer sent via email. When it came to renewing contracts, one in five would consider a telephone offer, and one in two an emailed offer.
Consumers also disagreed strongly with the statement: ‘When I pay a bargain price for a product or service I’m willing to accept a lower level of customer support.’ But 50% expect a higher level of support when they are loyal or pay a premium for service.
Mennie said: “Today’s consumers are highly sophisticated and demand universally high service across interaction channels and customer lifecycle. However, when expanding or extending a relationship customer experience becomes even more influential.
“The survey shows that consumers are increasingly taking a ‘something for something’ approach with service expectations; expecting premium pricing and customer loyalty to warrant enhanced levels of customer service. Any winning business strategy should therefore include service as an important element.”
To download the eGain report, go to http://comms.egain.net/egain-survey.