STORE SPACES

Survey: Good customer service is money for retailers

BY Marianne Wilson

Customer service is a key factor for U.S. adults when choosing where to shop and how much  will spend.

According to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers, 65% of consumers said that the quality of customer service is a factor when deciding where to make their purchases. And 67% said that good customer service encourages them to stay longer and/or spend more money.

For all major product categories, positive, in-person customer experience increases the likelihood of a purchase. More than half (57%) of people said that they would pay more for an item or service if they know they will receive good customer service. Overall, 73% of respondents said that receiving good customer service from a retailer increases the likelihood that they will spend more money than they had planned.

“Nearly 60 percent of consumers said that they’re more satisfied with customer service in-store than online, which speaks to the value of the in-person experience,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “Even in the age of online, the human element remains a vital component of success for shopping centers and retailers as they invest and re-invest in their physical presences.”

Friendly and/or knowledgeable employees ranked as the most important (62%) aspects of in-store customer service, followed by the ability to easily find items (59%) and speed and ease of checkout (59%).

The most important aspects of online customer service online were speed of delivery services offered (55%), the ability to easily find the items (49%) and flexibility of return/exchange policy (45%)

Long checkout lines, not being able to find employees to help, and negative employee interactions or ‘pushy’ salespeople are the top frustrations for customers shopping in-store. Shipping fees, receiving the wrong item, and complicated return processes frustrate online consumers the most. These reasons illustrate that, across channels, convenience and personalization are vital aspects of customer service.

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