Customers are more tech-savvy than multichannel retailers

Tech-savvy consumers are aggravated by how difficult it is to contact retailers, despite commitment to multichannel strategies.

According to research from Eckoh, the majority of tech-savvy customers believe they are more multichannel than retailers, due to the inconsistencies in retail customer service channels.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of UK customers said they have to repeat details of a complaint in separate interactions despite the retailer claiming they are multichannel. Respondents also experience long waiting times for phone calls and complex telephone menus.

Almost half (47%) of consumers find the phone most annoying, but 32% of respondents said the phone is still the most useful way of communicating with service providers. Email was cited as the most frustrating method of communication, but online chat services the most convenient.

"In too many cases, shoppers find that their service providers are implementing ‘multi-flannel’ strategies, better at hindering communication than improving it," said Tony Porter, head of global communications at Eckoh. "Retailers without a coherent customer service infrastructure are, in the eyes of the customers, at best falling short of expectations, and at worst are seen as deliberately obstructive."

Eckoh discovered the average UK consumer uses around seven different electronic communication channels, like Whatsapp and Facebook, which are all accessed through one mobile device. "Customers are adept at organising data across multiple channels, and their expectations are correspondingly high," said Porter.

He added: "There are many companies that do an outstanding job of integrating their communication with customers. Communications have transformed in the last decade – and staying ahead of the curve requires commitment, expertise and resource. On the flip side, there are many companies that still have customers who are probably better at joined up multi-channel communication."

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