IMRG launches online customer service index
A quarterly e-customer service index (eCSI) has been created by the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) in partnership with eDigitalResearch and the UK-based online loyalty coalition iPoints.
The index is compiled from a regular survey of a sample of the 1.5 million members of the iPoints programme, which provides a cross-section of active online shoppers from a range of retail partners.
Changing satisfaction The eCSI was designed to act as an indicator and benchmark of e-retail customer satisfaction, which the initial report rated at 78%. In the first comparison, e-consumer satisfaction with product deliveries increased in April 2007 to 80%, up from 77% in December 2006.
According to James Roper, CEO for IMRG, "The reason why we are adding the eCSI to our portfolio is that it is of great importance to retailers and brands, and until now there has been no benchmark. Online shoppers have high and rising expectations, so retailers need to continually improve their service just to keep up with them."
Geraldine Tosh, Managing Director for iPoints, warned that in a consumer-led environment such as online shopping, customer service is a key issue that retailers can't afford to ignore. Although online retailing is growing significantly, competition is getting fiercer and one of the most effective ways to engage customers is through excellent service.
Key findings Key findings from the report include the fact that customers find good information critical prior to purchasing. Product information, sourced via the internet, is a major influence on consumer purchasing decisions. With a rating of only 75%, there is an obvious opportunity for improvement in this area. The decision of which channel to use to purchase the product is shown to be influenced by the type of product and also the season in which it is purchased.
According to IMRG, the management and channel complexity of the UK retail market is increasing, and customers are increasingly flexible in their channel choices and use the entire resource set that retailers provide to establish a relationship and make purchasing decisions. Those retailers who manage all channels and customer contact opportunities in an integrated, information-rich and service-focused way will have the greatest opportunities for competitive advantage.
What consumers want The index survey also gathers information about the improvements consumers would like to see made to enhance their online shopping experiences.
According to eDigitalResearch director Chris Russell, "It is worth noting that the consumer sees a store brand as a single organisation, and does not regard it as a multi-channel entity. Instead, all company touchpoints are regarded as part of the same overall brand."
Results report The index tracks consumer attitudes, channel preferences, trends and variations in customer satisfaction and shopping behaviour across eight sector classifications:· Travel & tickets;· Books, CDs, DVDs, music, games and software;· Home & consumer electronics;· Clothing, footwear and jewellery;· Furniture, DIY and gardening;· Food, drink and household supplies;· Health and beauty;· Gifts.
The full eCSI report has been made available for download from the IMRG web site - click here (free registration required).