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E-shoppers give top marks for customer care

21.10.2008

Nine out of ten e-shoppers are satisfied with the service they receive E-mail responses still take too long

Kaum eine Wolke am Service-Himmel der E-Shops.

Online shoppers praise e-commerce companies  
Online buyers are full of praise for the service they receive from Internet shops, with 94 per cent of customers at least satisfied with their last purchase and 55 per cent even stating they were “very satisfied”. The shop operators’ service was rated as especially good for enquiries made via the classic communication channels e-mail and telephone. The information provided via FAQ lists and virtual advisers, on the other hand, was still considered unsatisfactory with the proportion of very satisfied online shoppers falling here to around 40 per cent. Frequently, the knowledge databases lack the latest information or the search functions only turn up a fraction of the required information. These are the findings of the survey Communication Costs in E-Shops’ Sales and After Sales conducted by novomind AG in collaboration with the trade journal Der Versandhausberater.  Speed is the be-all and end-all of customer care  
The e-shops score above all for short response times to customer queries. Customer care agents can answer 60 per cent of enquiries straight away. A third of online shoppers are not prepared to wait longer than three days for a conclusive solution. Improvement is called for, however, when it comes to e-mail correspondence, where the service agents only manage to reply to every second enquiry without a long delay.  All too often, standard questions submitted via e-mail still end up with the customer care agent  
The shortcomings of e-mail customer care are due largely to the large number of enquiries in the customer care agents’ electronic in-boxes. Three- quarters of online shoppers opt to contact the Internet retailers by e-mail with their queries. Of these, 85 per cent are so-called “standard questions” concerning the likes of shipping costs, for instance. If all such questions have to be dealt with by the customer care agent, delays are the logical consequence. It is not viable for service centres to take on extra staff, so an alternative for e-shops is to look into investing in e-mail management systems. Combined with improvements in the quality of self-service options offered on the shop websites, such systems can eliminate the shortcomings of customer care and save costs at the same time. After all, compared with e-mail or phone services, intelligent self-service methods make for customer service that costs significantly less. 
  
Background information  
The Communication Costs in E-Shops’ Sales and After Sales report reveals the findings of an online survey conducted on behalf of novomind AG in collaboration with the trade journal Der Versandhausberater. It includes an analysis of the cases in which customers address their questions to online shops and of the communication costs those shops incur. The data was collected between 2 and 7 April 2008 from 428 online shoppers who took part in the survey. 
  
novomind AG: innovative software for professional customer communications  
The novomind Services division specialises in modern software solutions for electronic telecommerce (e-commerce). Consulting, implementation and operational support in the fields of e-shopping, PIM and marketplace integration together lead to tailor-made e-commerce solutions for novomind customers—manufacturer-independent, individual and successful.
Integratability, scalability and availability of systems are as much a prime focus, therefore, as pragmatic project management and fast software-development cycles.
novomind’s technological partners include: Intershop, IBM, Oracle and hybris.
The novomind clientele includes: Der Club Bertelsmann, buecher.de, Otto-Group, Mexx, Ernsting’s family, Media-Saturn, s.Oliver and Weltbild.
The Products division portfolio features, among other things, the novomind Self Service Suite. This software package contains all the necessary communication modules a customer service centre needs, based on a central knowledge database.

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