Survey: Chat and self-service top customer experiences

Bozeman, Mont. A new study from RightNow to investigate online shoppers' attitudes towards the technology used for customer service found that consumers are foregoing traditional methods of communication with contact center agents, such as phone and e-mail, in favor of self-service and chat.

The study, published in The Retail Bulletin and released Tuesday, found that when it comes to making online purchases, half of consumers prefer to go it alone, finding information on products or services via the retailer’s Web site and support pages.

Preferred communication methods for finding information about a retailer’s products or services are:

  • Online self-serve (50%);
  • E-mail customer services (19%); and
  • Call customer services (18%)

The survey found that online consumers also enjoy using chat. In fact, more than 64% of consumers who have engaged with an agent through a chat session said they would rather use this channel than speak with an agent on the phone; 69% said they would prefer to use chat than e-mail.

The study uncovered good news for those retailers focused on using service departments to drive revenue. It found consumers open to retail customer-care agents suggesting relevant products and services for purchase following e-mail, chat or phone interactions.

In short, more than 60% of online shoppers will accept suggestions regarding relevant products of services during an e-mail exchange; 54% will do so during a phone session; and 53% said chat could also be used for suggestions.