Stats ecommerce digital support

Online retailers delighting customers but digital support disappoints


Digital customer expectations are on the rise, according to new research, but with chat functionality and personalised services failing to impress, there are clear opportunities for improvement. 

18th Sep 2019

UK retailers are delighting more of their online customers than their global counterparts, according to new findings. But with their digital support functions failing to impress, and consumer expectations of etail experiences on the rise, there is little time for British businesses to rest on their laurels.

Google and Kantar analysed 33,500 online shoppers across 17 countries, to gauge how customers rate their digital experiences.

The study found that the majority of UK customers rate experiences with retailers as excellent or very good (79%), outperforming the global average (69%).

Elsewhere, customer recommendations of retailers (based on Net Promoter Score) in the UK is 40, compared with 30 globally, suggesting that UK customers are more willing than the global average to promote their preferred retailer.

But it's not all good news.

British consumer satisfaction with online retailers is consistent with previous findings, even though experiences have improved - when compared to the same measurements conducted in previous years, customers reported gains in 22 of 30 customer experience categories. 

For instance, in the UK, a big increase in satisfaction was reported in the ‘fresh delivery of groceries’ (52% rising to 57% satisfaction). Other areas have remained consistently high, such as quick and easy payment processing (72% satisfied) and quick website/app load times (69%). The results suggest that constant experience improvements are necessary to maintain a baseline of satisfaction as customer expectations rise in line with retailer innovation. 

The findings do, however, point to clear areas where improvements can be made. For instance, only a third of UK respondents said they were impressed with the online service/chat function, with just 35% rating them as excellent of very good. Meanwhile, less than half (43%) reported that they felt retailer websites got to know their preferences or could deliver personalised content to them, and only a third (33%) of expressed satisfaction with retailer loyalty schemes

“It’s well known that customer expectations are defined by the best experience they have with a retailer - immediately creating a new bar for all other retailers to meet. This research not only confirms that point, but points to the need for retailers to work on personalisation strategies, loyalty schemes, overall site speed and more,” says Martijn Bertisen, retail director at Google UK.

“The retailer who falls behind gets left behind, and retailers must anticipate customer needs and ensure it is being met with ease and speed as a bare minimum. UK customers are savvy, and we can see here that they reward great customer experiences with both repeat purchases and advocacy. The imperative is to be the retailer that sets the bar higher, and finds new ways to not only keep customers satisfied, but to drive that satisfaction further upwards.” 

Replies (1)

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By Julien Rio
19th Sep 2019 11:04

Great article.

I have two elements of response.

The first one is that I find it dangerous or inaccurate for Google and Kantar to use NPS as a global metrics to compare performance across countries. NPS is strongly influenced by the local culture. For instance, in France, where people are famous for complaining, the NPS is by nature a metric that remains lower than the world average, regardless of the quality of service. On the other extreme, you find Japan that usually rates very high in NPS, because culturally it is wrong to point out bad services. Culturally, the meaning of a "good NPS score" is different and can hardly be standardized.

The second element concerns this part: "only a third of UK respondents said they were impressed with the online service/chat function, with just 35% rating them as excellent of very good". This isn't too surprising. Live-chat is a synchronous channel, and similarly to the phone, it requires the customer's attention and generates frustration when the answer isn't quick enough. The good news is that digital allows a whole new set of asynchronous channels (social, for example), some of which are a perfect replacement / complement to a live-chat. I am obviously thinking about messaging, which makes it easier for both the customer and the agent to manage the conversation, making the brand virtually available 24/7.

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