June 1, 2010, 12:58 PM

The online channel falls short in delighting customers, new study says

Consumers get a better customer service experience via telephone and in-person settings than online.

Internet Retailer
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When it comes to researching a product, purchasing it and getting help from customer service agents, consumers get a better experience through telephone and in-person settings than online, Temkin Group says in a new study.

Temkin, a customer experience consulting firm, based its findings on a survey conducted in May of more than 400 companies across several industries.

Survey respondents said telephone contact most often offered the best means of helping customers purchase a product or get help .

When respondents were asked if they offered a good customer experience “sometimes,” “almost always” or “always” for purchasing or applying for a product, 70.3% said they did so through in-person experiences such as in a store; 65.1% said they hit that mark via telephone contact; and 59.3% said through the online channel.

When the same question pertained to getting help through customer service, 85.1% of respondents cited the in-person experience; 77% the telephone and 68.6% the online channel.

And for researching a product, 75.3% said they delighted customers through in-person experiences; 74.9% via telephone contact; and 70.1% online.

Interestingly, the survey notes that 95% of respondents said they expect within three years to be above average in delivering a good overall customer experience, up from the 73% who figure they’re already better than most.

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