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Customer Service News
18 Jul 2008

Online traders are the number one adviser for online buyers

Online customers avoid service hotlines that cost them money

Service perception of producer and e-shop must match

Internet customers tend to seek advice from retailers  
On the Internet, customer service is up to the retailer. Eighty-six per cent of German online customers contact the Web shop direct with their enquiries about a product or purchase procedure. The producer is not generally approached. Only one in 20 Internet shoppers address queries to the brand manufacturer or supplier. This means that successful sales are largely dependent upon the quality of service the retailer provides. These are the findings of the survey Communication Costs in Sales and After Sales of E-Shops, which was conducted by novomind AG in collaboration with the mail-order trade journal Der Versandhausberater. 
Online traders and producers need to speak the same language when it comes to customer service  
That customers are more likely to contact online traders when they have a query is an advantage for the brand manufacturers on the one hand because it means that they share the service infrastructure of the Internet shops. This cuts their costs. On the other hand, they risk losing contact with their customers or that an online shop’s lack of service could tarnish the brand’s image. That’s why interfaces for an exchange of information between e-shop and brand producer are an important requirement in customer service. Online traders and marketplace operations are also required to apply the producers’ service standards to the letter and to adapt their customer care capacities to cope with a large number of enquiries from customers. If the retailers’ customer service is of a high standard, they can make their sales platform attractive to other brand producers. 
Customer service for money is not popular  
After all, Internet customers are discerning when it comes to service. More than 20 per cent of the respondent online buyers place their enquiries elsewhere if the retailer can only be reached via a service hotline, for which the customer has to pay. The same applies if contacting an e-shop is too complicated, for example where the contact information is poorly positioned and difficult to locate. In addition to this, there are some product categories for which queries come in far more frequently to the producer or supplier. This applies, among other things, to expensive or larger products. One in three online buyers, for example, submit their enquiries regarding the purchase of a car via the Internet to the car maker and not the retailer. A quarter of furniture buyers send enquiries to the supplier to coordinate delivery times, for instance. The reason: customers believe that the producer or transporter will be more likely to give them a competent answer. 
Background information  
The survey Communication Costs in Sales and After Sales of E-Shops presents the findings of an online survey that was conducted for novomind AG in collaboration with the trade journal Der Versandhausberater and analyses in which cases customers address their questions to online traders and the level of communication costs the e-shops incur as a result. The data was collected between 2 and 7 April 2008. The survey was conducted with the cooperation of 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.