Survey: Easy agent access to customer info key to online business success

ANN ARBOR—Online shoppers demand robust, real-time interaction with agents online, according to a new survey of 500 online shoppers from the Ann Arbor customer experience analysis firm CFI Group and Radial, an e-commerce company based in King of Prussia, Pa.

“It’s long been clear that agents armed with customers’ account histories and prior interactions with a brand lead to better service experiences,” says Sheri Petras, CEO of CFI Group. “The new data from our most recent survey show that this goes much further, though, with a significant proportion of our respondents telling us that they actively seek out brands that have these capabilities. That has implications that extend well beyond smooth customer service experiences.”

While high-quality service by agents certainly remains important, the survey also showed customers’ continued willingness to engage in self-service and the importance of providing a variety of channels for them to seek the help they need. 83 percent of our respondents report that they use self-service options when brands explicitly offer them, an increase of seven percentage points from the same time last year, and a solid majority also expressed at least some degree of comfort interacting with artificial intelligence tools in this process.

When self service did not get them the answers they needed, respondents reported reaching out for agent assistance across a variety of channels, whether phone, online chat, email, or social media. Though phone was mostly commonly their first choice, significant proportions of the respondents said that they preferred other channels, and many said they had reached out via multiple channels—an average of 1.6 overall.

Since 1988, CFI Group has delivered customer experience measurement and business insights from its Ann Arbor headquarters and a network of global offices. As founding partner of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), CFI Group is the only company within the United States licensed to apply customized ACSI methodology in both the private and public sectors. Using patented technology and top research experts, CFI Group uncovers the business drivers and financial impact of customer experience.

Radial offers e-commerce products and services, including fulfillment, transportation, fraud detection, payments, and tax systems, and personalized customer care services. More at www.radial.com.

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