ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - Nov 20, 2012) - ClickFox, the pioneering leader in customer experience analytics, today announced the results of a consumer survey auditing customer service experience and purchase behavior during the busy holiday buying season. The results showed a correlation between favoring online customer service and identifying negative experiences with in-store and call center service representatives. Amazon and Best Buy were revealed to be the companies providing the best customer experience during the holiday season, according to consumers.
"Consumers have become adept at identifying the easiest customer service resolution," said Marco Pacelli, CEO, ClickFox. "The findings of our research should serve as a wake-up call for those in the retail industry: if they continue to fail to provide stellar in-store customer service, they risk losing customers to online competitors. As we've seen with analysis of more than 12 billion customer touch points annually, when retailers fail to resolve customer service inquiries at the first point of service, companies can expect increased service overhead and decreased customer loyalty as consumers are forced to utilize multiple service channels to resolve their issues."
Online Customer Experience Resonates with Consumers
The findings pointed to strong adoption of e-commerce by consumers this holiday season, with 62 percent of respondents noting that they plan to do the bulk of their shopping online this year. Increased online shopping can be attributed to the positive service experience reported by 78 percent of respondents. Self-service options provided by online storefronts were also identified as the most influential component of customer purchasing for 23 percent of consumers polled.
Contact Centers and Sales Floor Representatives Drive Negative Experiences
Customer service via phone was revealed as the worst service touch point, with 50 percent of consumers polled reporting negative experiences. 41 percent of respondents noted sales floor representatives as the greatest point of negative customer service experience during the holidays behind service via phone. In addition, checkout representatives and peer influences were found to be the least effective for holiday purchases, with consumers rating their respective influences at 37 percent and 25 percent.
When attempting to resolve a negative customer service experience, 52 percent of respondents reported they would first speak to a manager in person; 33 percent would call a customer service hotline as the next step. 39 percent of consumers also admitted they would attempt to resolve customer service experiences with a live contact before engaging brands via social media as a final step towards resolution.
Prices and Service Experience Influence Store Selection
Despite the optimistic economic outlook, 57 percent of consumers identified having the best prices and deals as the greatest factors when selecting a store to purchase holiday gifts. Customer service experience was recorded as the second highest priority when selecting a store at 32 percent.
Returning unwanted holiday gifts is an important factor for store selection for the 67 percent of consumers who will shop at stores where they know the returns process is easy. Most consumers who plan on returning holiday gifts will do so after the New Year (49 percent), while 39 percent of gift-returning consumers will return them between Christmas and New Year's Day.
Unsurprisingly, advertising was identified as the most influential factor for holiday purchasing by 25 percent of consumers.
The ClickFox 2012 Holiday Customer Service Audit evaluated 213 consumers on their preferences and experiences with customer service during the holiday buying season. The responses were recorded in October 2012 and respondents were 62 percent male and 38 percent female. Additionally, results represented a broad range of generational insights, with 1 percent of respondents under the age of 21; 18 percent between 22 and 34; 32 percent between 35 and 44; 31 percent between 45 and 54; 15 percent between 55 and 64; and 3 percent over the age of 65.
Access the infographic here: http://www.clickfox.com/insights/consumer-surveys/2012-holiday-customer-service-audit.
Additional ClickFox information is available at http://www.clickfox.com and on the ClickFox Customer Experience Analytics Blog at http://www.clickfox.com/blog. Join the team on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
ClickFox is the defining leader of a new breed of experience analytics software and solutions, analyzing behavior for more than 12 billion consumer accounts across every channel available to consumers today. Transcending a limited single channel view, ClickFox patented behavioral analysis engine provides a visually intuitive mapping of all customer interactions -- from IVR, retail, Web, and email to agent CRM desktops, handheld devices, and interactive kiosks -- delivering unparalleled visibility to uncover hidden connections and reveal bottom-line customer insights. Deployed by some of the nation's largest telcos, financial institutions, among other Fortune 500 enterprises, ClickFox has a proven track record of helping world-class service providers dramatically boost operational efficiency and profitability.