Young shoppers ‘most likely to complain publicly on social media when customer service fails’

01/11/2012

UK shoppers seek customer service support by email (49%) or phone (43%), and younger shoppers are highly likely to turn to social channels when these touch points fail, with 46% of under 25s and 33% of 25-33 year olds using social to air their grievances more publically, according to new research.

The study, commissioned by Rakuten’s Play.com, consisted of an independent survey of 1,000 UK consumers.

This independent research also revealed that each generation has a different set of gripes with customer service delivery; over a third (37%) of 18-24 year olds were frustrated when they felt their customer service representative lacked the knowledge or expertise to answer their query.

For 25-34 year olds speed of response was the biggest grievance with 33% feeling help through their preferred channel was too slow, meanwhile for the over 45’s the local language fluency of representatives was the greatest concern.

UK marketplace, Rakuten’s Play.com was this year named the “UK’s Best Entertainment Retailer” in Verdict’s 2012 Consumer Satisfaction Index.

Adam Stewart, Director of Marketing at Rakuten’s Play.com commented on how the company successfully approaches customer service: “In the retail business, customer service is vital. Channelling best practice from Japan, the goal at Rakuten’s Play.com is to offer Omotenashi, a Japanese service style which steps away from the vending machine retail model and aims to go the extra mile when delivering great customer experience. As part of this push we recently brought our customer service contact centre back to the UK and have a 55 strong team to advise customers pre and post sale, and this will be increasing to 200 over our peak period. Furthermore we will soon be launching a 24/7 social media channel dedicated to customer service, which will run alongside other channels to ensure we are as accessible as possible.”

Aside from customer service, when it came to building repeat custom online, independent research revealed that loyalty programs were the biggest incentive to make a second purchase online, according to 39% of shoppers surveyed. The second most important factor was after sales support, which got the vote of 20% of those surveyed and was particularly important to over 55s, who were the only age group to rank this higher than offers and rewards. Meanwhile the younger generation are most susceptible to the personal touch, with 24% stating that personalised offers were most likely to encourage another sale.

Adam Stewart, Director of Marketing at Rakuten’s Play.com commented: “In the retail business, customer service is vital. Channelling best practice from Japan, the goal at Rakuten’s Play.com is to offer Omotenashi, a Japanese service style which steps away from the vending machine retail model and aims to go the extra mile when delivering great customer experience.”

Key findings of the report are below:

• Over a third of shoppers (37%) believe the quality of customer service is more important online than in-store
• Nearly half of under 25s and over a third of 25-34 year olds turn to social media when other customer service channels fail, in order to air concerns publically
• Traditional email and telephone channels are still business critical as customer service touch points, but 11% of 18-34 years now prefer social channels above all others

Further findings from the research included:

• 39% of shoppers said that customer service is usually better with a smaller/local business than online
• Other than price, the most likely factor to encourage a customers to make a second purchase online would be:
o 39% – Loyalty programs & rewards
o 20% – Strong after sales support
o 14% – Personalised offers shared after purchase
• 83% of those surveyed reported they 'frequently shop online'
• Customers would expect to wait either up to 30 minutes (36%) or more than 24 hours (30%) for their customer service query to be answered
• 73% of consumers reported that they have previously or regularly viewed a product in-store before going online to then purchase it
• When asked for the reason that they would purchase online than in-store, shoppers reported:
o 73% in order to get a better price on the product
o 50% that it saves time
o 47% that it is easier to compare products
o 46% in order to take advantage of special offers
o 38% there is better product availability
o 23% simply would rather avoid shops

Source: http://global.rakuten.com/en/.

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