Survey News: Retailers Should Get Serious About Service

If you need more evidence that service is important to your business, here it is: A recent survey conducted by the Washington–based National Retail Federation’s NRF Foundation and American Express Co. found that 99% of shoppers believe customer service is at least somewhat important when deciding to make a purchase.

Conducted in May, the nationwide survey revealed that stores in particular could stand to step up their service. Just 16% of traditional (retail) shoppers surveyed were extremely satisfied with their most recent customer service experience, while an additional 51% were very satisfied. In contrast, online shoppers were nearly three times as likely to be extremely satisfied with their customer service experience (44%) and an additional 45% were very satisfied.

To traditional shoppers, the most important elements of good customer service revolve around retail employees and the store environment, according to the survey. But the majority of online shoppers (88%) find a safe and secure Website an extremely important component of good customer service; they also want merchandise to be delivered on time (73%), and want the retailer to quickly handle questions and requests (74%).

Both traditional and online shoppers find it extremely important that retailers they do business with do not share their information with other companies (73% of traditional shoppers, 78% of online shoppers). And both groups felt that accurate item pricing was an essential component of customer service (71% traditional, 75% online) and they value retailers that promptly deal with merchandise problems after the sale (63% traditional, 74% online).

Return policies were also important to both groups. Not only do most customers want returns to be accepted without problems (59% traditional, 70% online), they want return policies to be clear (60% traditional, 70% online) and fair (60% traditional, 69% online).

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