By Daniel Hunter

A fifth of consumers (20 per cent) ranked online retailers as providing the highest standards of customer service against a list of 13 organisation types in new research into consumer satisfaction with online retailers. Additionally, 79 per cent are either satisfied or extremely satisfied with the quality of service received from online retailers.

The new study, conducted by contact centre software provider, Aspect Software, found that not a single consumer expressed dissatisfaction with the overall customer service received from online retailers.

This is despite other markets faring much worse, such as telecommunications, which saw almost 1 in 10 consumers dissatisfied with the service provided. On top of this, only 2 per cent can recall a particularly bad customer experience from an online retailer over the past 12 months.

Aspect’s Consumer satisfaction benchmarking report 2013 reveals that although online retailers are leading the pack in terms of service provided to consumers, only 7 per cent can recall a particularly good experience from an online retailer over the past 12 months. Further, 36 per cent of official complaints to online retailers go unresolved in the eyes of the customer, with only 9 per cent of complaints considered resolved during the first interaction with the business in question.

“The modern British consumer is demanding more and more from the customer service they receive,” Mark King, Senior VP, Europe and Africa, Aspect explained.

“With the competition just one click away, online retailers are having to engage with us shopaholics through a variety of channels, and it’s clear to see that in terms of giving consumers want, online retailers are setting the standards for other organisations. But nobody’s perfect, as it’s clear that they still have a little way to go in achieving an optimal service.

“Considering that 3 in 10 consumers would stop using a retailer as a result of just one incidence of ‘bad’ service, ecommerce would do well to ensure that such lapses are resolved as soon and as efficiently as possible, or risk losing significant volumes of business.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding of the customer experience they receive from service providers and retailers — bricks and mortar, purely online or multi-channel — must adapt to our changing habits, lifestyle choices and shopping expectations, and ignore customer satisfaction at their peril.

“As we have seen in the media, those that have failed to do so are struggling or disappearing. For those that can, there are lucrative opportunities. By optimising their technology investments across multiple channels, retailers can maximise the performance of their customer engagement strategy and maintain a loyal and happy customer base.”

Other key findings:

· – 57 per cent of consumers are either satisfied or extremely satisfied with the way their complaint was dealt with

· – Email is the preferred method of contact with online retailers, with 69 per cent stating this

· – Only 2 per cent stated they would not use social media to contact online retailers, making online retailers the most accepted organisation type for communication through social media channels

· – 48 per cent stated the reason for not using social media to contact and online retailer is because other contact methods get a better response.

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