LONDON/BOSTON: A high proportion of consumers on both sides of the Atlantic have expressed dissatisfaction with their experience of customer service this holiday season, according to a new survey of 2,000 shoppers.
Eptica, a UK-based customer interaction software company, questioned 1,000 UK consumers and another 1,000 consumers in the US on 30 November, this year's date for Cyber Monday, about their online and in-store customer experience.
The snap poll established that 21% of British consumers – and 18% of their American counterparts – complained that it was impossible or extremely difficult to find the information they wanted on retailers' websites.
Of particular concern for retailers, given their substantial investment in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the UK figure represented a threefold increase in complaints in just one year.
About one-third of British (33%) and American (35%) consumers said they were unhappy with their online experience. Meanwhile, 37% of holiday shoppers in the UK said they were dissatisfied with their in-store experience, an opinion shared by 40% of US consumers.
On a more positive note, 37% of US consumers said they were "extremely satisfied" with their online experience while 30% were extremely satisfied with their experience at physical stores.
British shoppers were less generous to retailers with just 29% reporting extreme satisfaction with their online experience, falling to 27% for the in-store experience.
The report recommended that retailers improve their mobile customer service because, at least as far as UK consumers were concerned, more than half who made a purchase in-store via their smartphone complained about the service.
Elsewhere, the report provided evidence that a significant proportion of consumers in both countries are postponing their Christmas shopping until after the Black Friday and Cyber Monday rush.
Almost half (49%) of British shoppers and around a third (37%) of American consumers had not made any purchases before the end of November.
"Holiday shopping patterns seem to be in a state of flux, with some consumers still embracing Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but others spreading their purchases over a wider timeframe," said Olivier Njamfa, CEO and co-founder of Eptica.
"What is shocking is that whatever channel they choose, and whenever they shop, so many consumers are unsatisfied with the service they receive. At such a vital time of year, retailers need to fix this if they are to win and retain customers and guarantee strong revenues over the holiday period."
Data sourced from Eptica; additional content by Warc staff