What do European consumers want from customer service?
With the corona crisis giving a massive boost to ecommerce in Europe, customer service teams were put under substantial pressure. And the return numbers also significantly increased last year. How do customer service in European countries perform?
Customer support has always been a very important part of ecommerce. Especially, because consumers can’t touch and feel the products they desire. So, it’s very important that online shoppers can find what they are looking for online.
What do customers expect from customer service?
But with the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, ecommerce, and thus customer care, has become even more important. Salesupply has written an Ecommerce Customer Care study with trends and figures. It shows that six out of ten consumers indicate that they have raised their customer service standards during the Covid pandemic.
59% of consumers have raised their customer service standards during the pandemic.
76% want to choose between different contact channels
Speed is very important, as 83 percent of consumers expect to speak to someone on the first attempt. And 76 percent expect the option of being able to choose between different contact channels. Which one they prefer, often depends on the question itself.
Also, for ecommerce companies it’s very important to offer customer service agents access to all customer complaints, questions and feedback. Because a survey shows that two-thirds of consumers expect all agents to have access to the same information, so that they don’t have to explain their situation all over again once they are redirected.
Ecommerce customer care per country
In its guide, Salesupply has made a handy overview of the ecommerce customer care situation in some countries across Europe. Let’s have a look:
In the Netherlands, the top three favorite contact channels are telephone, email and chat (live chat & social media). “Among Dutch consumers, expectations are high when it comes to customer service interaction. The Dutch are looking for personalization and empathy”, the company writes.
For shoppers in the Netherlands, it’s important that customer service agents have all recent information on their last order and all previous oders and that they can give product advice based on their order history.
In Germany, customers als prefer to contact customer services by telephone, email and online chat. The first two, however, are the favorite (or one of the favorite) channel(s) of 56 percent of consumers.
Ecommerce companies that are looking to expand to Germany, should know that when it comes to customer service, only having phone and email isn’t an option. And so are lengthy response times, because consumers in Germany like to get a prompt answer to their questions. And according to SaleSupply’s research, German customers find that talking to someone who doesn’t know what he or she is calling about is unacceptable.
The United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, people like to be contacted by phone: 58 percent say this is their favorite option. The telephone is followed by email, while 46 percent prefer to contact customer service via online chat methods such as a live chat on the website or through social media.
And an increasing demand for speedy customer service is noticeable throughout Europe, and similarly in the UK. Over half of British consumers wants the phone to be answered within five minutes, while 48 percent will end a chat session if their problem isn’t solved within five minutes.
28% of Brits expect a tweet within 5 minutes.
And even for contact channels that aren’t live per se, like Twitter, British consumers are demanding: 28 percent expect a tweet back within five minutes.
When you’re an ecommerce company in Italy and you’re about to set up your customer care service, know that in this Southern European country, consumers prefer email over telephone. Also realize that alongside this, the popularity of online chat options is growing.
In Italy, consumers prefer email over telephone.
Online consumers in France are similar to those in other European countries, because their favorite customer service contact channels are, in order: telephone, email, online chat. What the French won’t like is being redirected to another agent and having to repeat the question again (47 percent). Or being kept on hold for a long time (41 percent), or having to endure slow responses during a chat session (30 percent).
The French, on the other hand, value prompt service with a good solution the most, followed by friendliness and helpfulness of the agents, and being kept informed during every step of the process.
When you run an online store in Spain and you need to hire people for your customer service, try and focus on hiring people who are good with calling and sending emails. Because Spanish consumers overwhelmingly opt for telephone (66 percent) and email (60 percent) to contact customer service. Online chat options are only specified as an option by 11 percent.
Most Spaniards are irritated by being put on hold.
And be aware of the fact that most Spaniards are irritated by being put on hold, negative use of language being redirected, an agent who acts defensive, or being redirected to the website.
Just like many European, online consumers in Poland prefer to call the customer service whenever they have a question or problem that needs to be solved. Keep in mind that many Polish consumers are too impatient to wait for an answer via email.
In addition to these ‘traditional’ channels, chat and social media are also becoming increasingly popular in Poland. And that’s mostly because of their efficiency and speed.
Another thing to know about the average Polish shopper is that they are known for taking many factors into consideration when making a purchase decisions. And it seems that the service they receive during and after the purchase is the most important. Polish consumers are willing to pay more at an online shop which has better service.