Britain: 27% online stores available 9 to 5 on weekdays

Britain: 27% online stores available 9 to 5 on weekdays

More than half of online stores in Britain close their customer care after 5 pm. Additionally, 27 percent of the online stores in the country are only available during the daytime on Monday to Friday. “A missed opportunity”, says Jonathon Huggett, Business Development Manager at Salesupply UK.

Consumers shop in the evenings more often, as an evening peak in online sales between 7 pm and 9 pm shows. However, this is also when most carts are abandoned. Salesupply went undercover and contacted 75 online stores in Britain to reveal the state of customer support in the country.

52% of stores close support too early

Earlier this year, the ecommerce customer service provider already showed that German and Dutch online stores close their customer care too early. At least 52 percent of British online stores do the same, which means they miss out on potential sales during the evening peak.

‘Customers expect an answer right away.’

“The importance of customer service in the pre-purchase phase is often underestimated. Online customers are impatient. When a question arises, they expect an answer right away. If customer service is not available at that moment, they will not hesitate and go to a competitor. Nowadays, an online store can no longer avoid offering customer service during evenings and weekends”, says Huggett.

customer service availability
Customer Service Availability in 75 British online stores. Source: Salesupply

Multiple contact channels

While online stores could improve their customer support availability, they do score well on the amount of offered channels. On average, they offer 2.6 contact channels. Email was the most offered channel (89 percent), followed by phone (86 percent). As most consumers in Europe prefer using email, these stores follow this trend.

In 43 percent of the online stores, chat was also used as a contact channel. Most them use live agents (44 percent), while 35 percent offer hybrid chat. This gives agents more time to focus on complex requests.

60% answer the phone within one minute

As ecommerce customers are known to be impatient, a quick response time is necessary. In 60 percent of the online stores, phones were answered within one minute. In 30 percent of the cases, the phone was answered within 40 second. But some stores took 5 minutes or longer to answer (10 percent).

‘32% of online stores answered emails within one hour.’

When contacted by email, stores are often able to answer within one day (66 percent). This is in line with consumer expectations. Even 32 percent answered within one hour. Just a small minority (2 percent) replied after a week or not at all.

customer support response time email
Customer Support Response Times for Email in British online stores. Source: Salesupply.


Pleuni writes all types of news and background articles for Ecommerce News, where she has been working since 2019.

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