Holiday Retail Survey

4 Insights into Retail Customer Care

April 17, 2018

Every year retailers invest a tremendous amount of time and money to meet increasing demands. Many even find themselves doubling or even tripling the support in their contact center, especially during the holiday season.

But how are these efforts rewarded? Are customers happier with the service? Does wait time decrease with the addition of more staff?

To find out, Interactions fielded a survey to see how customers fared with retail customer care—outside of the physical retail space—during the 2017 holiday season as well as additional questions around general retail customer care. What are some insights that we can bring to retailers as they begin planning for the 2018 holiday season? Here are some of the key insights into retail customer care from the study.

1. Retailers should keep up the good work
According to our survey, despite the higher volume during the holidays, retailers seem to be doing a good job at keeping the caliber of customer care on par with the rest of the year. This is very good news as the survey reveals and supports previous research that poor customer care can affect a company’s bottom line. Of those who thought their customer care experience was worse during the holiday season, the majority said that this bad experience makes them consider turning to a different retailer for future purchases.

2. People would rather endure physical pain than wait on hold for customer care
Waiting is a huge pain point for retail customers. In fact, almost 30% of people would rather endure physical pain (something as excruciating as a root canal or running across hot coals) than wait on hold for 10+ minutes to speak to a customer care agent. Many (36%) would even opt to spend time doing an unpleasant task, like cleaning their toilet.

3. The key to happy customers is resolving issues as quickly and efficiently as possible
Once again, time plays a crucial role in keeping retail customers happy. Sixty-five percent of respondents choose “quick resolution of issue” as the top characteristic of great customer service. Another way to earn a gold star? Don’t make customers repeat themselves. Repetition is helpful when it comes to perfecting a new skill, but only leads to frustration in customer care. Forty-nine percent of people chose “having to repeat their inquiry and information multiple times to different representatives” as their top characteristic of poor customer service. Having pleasant and knowledgeable agents also work in retailers’ favor to stay in good graces with their customers. Rude or unknowledgeable agents were also noted as common themes associated with poor customer care experiences.

4. Excellent customer care CAN make you stand out from other retailers
People love to talk about customer care experiences. When asked to write a description of their service experience—either positive or negative, nearly 75% of respondents did so. Interestingly enough, in these descriptions, most respondents referenced specific companies—either praising them for going above and beyond or cursing them for failing miserably—proving that customers remember excellent service and are not afraid to call out poor service. Many respondents also referenced the fact that they have even come to expect bad customer service, so delivering impeccable service will make even more of an impression.

For more insights and to read the full results of our survey, download our eBook below.

Seasonality in Retail Customer Care

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Seasonality and Retail Customer Care

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