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Customer Service News
26 Aug 2008

Germans give service costs the cold shoulder on the Internet

83 per cent of online shoppers reject flat rates for extra service

Paying for more service is not seen as added value by customers

Online customers are frightened away from e-shops by service packages that cost money  
Service packages that cost money don’t stand a chance in online retail. Only around one in six Internet shoppers are prepared to pay extra for improved online customer service. Women especially do not think much of paying for customer service. Only one in eight female customers would dig deeper into their purses for improved service, whereas one in five male Internet shoppers are prepared to pay a fee or a higher price if they’re going to get preferential service in return. These are the findings of a survey entitled “Communication costs in sales and after sales at e-shops”, which was conducted by novomind AG in conjunction with the mail-order industry magazine Der Versandhausberater. 

Existing customer service is perfectly adequate  
The majority of Internet shoppers do not consider pay-services such as preferential treatment to represent any real added value. Existing services are perfectly adequate for Internet customers. Ninety-five per cent of e-shoppers were satisfied with their online retailer’s customer service last time they bought something. More than 80 per cent would recommend the online shop to others and shop there again themselves. Above all else, online consumers want to be served quickly and cheaply, and these are things that many e-commerce businesses are already offering without charging extra for it. 
Disagreement about the price of service packages  
E-shoppers are rarely willing to pay higher prices or service fees in exchange for improved customer service on the Internet. What is more, even advocates of service fees do not agree on the maximum fee that should be charged. More than half of online consumers believe that the upper limit for a service package should be two euros. Only one in four Web shoppers are prepared to pay a five euro service supplement. 

Making customer service more efficient  
For the operators of online shops, it is therefore more important to make their customer service more efficient using the existing budget. One way is to make better use of online communication channels, such as by using dynamic FAQs and automated chat forums with virtual consultants. These increase the quality of service because they answer the bulk of standard questions automatically. They also help to save on cost, since Web-based channels are much cheaper than communicating by telephone. 
Background information  
The survey entitled "Communication costs in sales and after sales through e-shops" presents the findings of an online survey performed by novomind AG in collaboration with mail-order industry magazine Der Versandhausberater. It analysed the types of cases in which customers pose questions to online retailers, along with the communication costs incurred for the e-shops. The survey data was gathered between 2 and 7 April 2008, from 428 online shoppers. 
novomind AG: innovative software for professional customer communication and Internet systems  
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,, 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.