May 17th, 2018 by Sam Del Rowe

A majority of consumers are multitasking while online shopping, according to a recent study by Namogoo, a company that combats what it dubs Online Journey Hijacking—the phenomenon of exposing consumers to unauthorized ads.

The study, which surveyed 1,300 online shoppers, found that 57 percent have placed an online order while at work. Additionally, 51 percent have done so while performing household chores, 46 percent while in-store comparison shopping, and 31 while cooking. The report asserts that this practice by consumers of engaging in other activities while online shopping poses new challenges for brands in terms of retaining attention and driving conversions.

The study also found four specific reasons—across all segments including gender, age and monthly spend—that influence consumers’ decision to shop at an online retailer: product cost, shipping cost, selection, and delivery time. More specifically, 94 percent of consumers said that product cost influences their decision, with 90 percent for low cost or free shipping, 78 percent for selection, and 75 percent for fast delivery. With these findings indicating that cost of products and shipping being determining factors for over 90 percent of online shoppers, it would be prudent for online retailers to focus on these areas.

May 10th, 2018 by Sam Del Rowe

According to a recent report by digital commerce marketing solutions provider Avionos, 83 percent of B2B buyers would choose a supplier with robust e-commerce and customer portal capabilities over a competitor with less extensive ones, even if the competitor’s product was priced moderately lower. The report—which is the result of a survey of 160 U.S. B2B procurement officers—asserts that this trend will increase as millennials replace baby boomers in the workforce.

Additional findings support this assertion. 89 percent of procurement officers indicated that they make more purchases online today than they did a year ago, while 97 percent said that customer portal offerings were a critical factor in selecting a supplier. Furthermore, 46 percent identify as millennials, a demographic that the report notes have experienced e-commerce their entire lives.

The report also asserts that an extensive e-commerce experience is just one piece of the puzzle for a digitally empowered organization. It found that 78 percent of B2B buyers begin their product searches on either Amazon or Google, with only 15 percent beginning on a supplier’s website and just 6 percent doing so with a supplier’s catalog—even when they already have a preferred supplier. For this reason, the report suggests that companies invest in high quality digital content to boost visibility.

April 19th, 2018 by Leonard Klie

I don’t think Hallmark has come out with a card for it yet, but today is officially “National Get to Know Your Customers Day.”

But before you wend your way to the drugstore or have your marketing team frantically craft an e-card to send to everyone who has ever done business with you, know that this really isn’t that big of a deal.

Apparently, Get to Know Your Customers Day is observed annually on the third Thursday of each quarter (January, April, July, October). This is a day to reach out to your patrons and get to know them better.

While its origins are unknown, the holiday apparently came about in response to the  Internet and big-box stores that have pretty much killed the sense of personalization that were the hallmarks (no pun intended) of the mom-and-pop store down the street.

The day is billed as an opportunity for companies to get to know a little more about their customers and make each of them feel special. It’s an effort that needs to be undertaken right away, as in-app messaging company Helpshift discovered when it delved deeply into how people really feel about customer service.

“Historically, customer support has only been available during ‘business hours’—in other words, when it is convenient for the brand,” said Helpshift CEO Linda Crawford, in a statement. “Today, that’s no longer acceptable. Brands need to engage with their customers on their customers’ terms. Smart brands will put AI and bots to work to complement their agents’ availability and bandwidth.”

Helpshift, together with Propeller Insights, recently conducted a study of more than 2,000 U.S. adults and  found that almost all Americans (94 percent) dread contacting customer support, and 52 percent give customer service a “C” grade or lower.

When asked why, Americans cited the following:

  • Difficult-to-understand accents from offshore call centers – 17 percent;
  • Long wait and hold times – 16 percent;
  • Being transferred around and having to repeat the problem over and over – 15 percent;
  • Never-ending automated self-service menus – 12 percent; and
  • Being forced to speak to robots – 8 percent.

So there’s your holiday  to-do list. Now get to it!

April 17th, 2018 by Sam Del Rowe

Customer care and a straightforward process for returns are essential to building customer loyalty, according to a recent study from Narvar, a company that aims to help retailers improve customer loyalty.

More specifically, the study—which analyzed responses from 1,543 U.S. online shoppers—found that 54 percent of shoppers would give repeat business to a retailer that accurately predicts the date that their package will arrive, 77 percent would give repeat business to a retailer that resends lost or damaged items with expedited shipping, and 76 percent would do so for a retailer that makes returns and exchanges easy. Additionally, although the majority—67 percent—elect to return online purchases via mail, 25 percent indicated that they won’t buy something if they don’t have the option of returning it to a physical store.

The study also found that consumers are partial to voice capabilities and chatbots. In terms of voice capabilities, 51 percent of shoppers use them to research products, 36 percent to add items to their shopping list, and 30 percent to track a package. As for chatbots, 65 percent say they like using them because the bots are available at any time.

“To deliver customer care at its highest level, brands will need to anticipate customers’ wants and needs, using technologies like voice and chatbots to communicate with shoppers at every point of their journey,” Amit Sharma, founder and CEO of Narvar, said in a statement. “The retailers that succeed in building loyalty with shoppers will be those that connect with people personally and communicate proactively.”

March 15th, 2018 by Sam Del Rowe

For its 2018 Customer Service Benchmark Report, SuperOffice analyzed the customer service quality of 1,000 companies of all sizes worldwide. In order to determine how companies handle requests for customer support via email, an email was sent to each company asking two questions: “do you have a phone number I can call you on?” and “Where can I find pricing information on your website?”. The report found that 62 percent of companies failed to respond.

With this in mind, the report offers seven tips:

  • Route requests to the right department: The report found that the average response time for the top ten companies was two hours, suggesting that the right department received the request and was able to handle it accordingly. The report suggests that companies set up rules in their customer service software or inboxes that allow them to automatically forward requests to the correct department.
  • Use automated responses to acknowledge support requests: The report advises that companies set up automated replies that are sent to customers acknowledging receipt of their service requests.
  • Follow up with customers: The report asserts that following up is an easy way for companies to get ahead of the competition, and that companies should schedule follow-up messages to be sent three to four days after their initial response to determine if the level of service was satisfactory.
  • Strive to answer questions in the first response: The report found that the top ten companies all scored 100 percent for first contact resolution. It advises that companies answer the questions they can in their first reply and include a note that they will follow up with the customer regarding any questions they cannot immediately answer.
  • Make it simple for the customer to contact support: The report found that every company in the top ten had an email address clearly visible on its homepage. The report asserts that in addition to making it easy for the customer to get in touch with the company, this practice also boosts trust as the company shows it is not afraid to hear from its customers.
  • Quality, not quantity: The report found that the top ten companies all scored highly on the content of their replies, even though some of them took several hours to respond. The report suggests that a high quality answer is better than a low quality answer, even if the high quality one takes longer to compose.
  • Use customer service tools to empower your team: The report acknowledges that delivering great customer service requires the proper tools and processes, and that companies should implement customer service software that enables them to acknowledge, track, manage, and report on all customer service requests.


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