Does your business have both an online and offline presence? If your website (particularly your ecommerce) and your real-world customer experience don’t align, you could be driving customers away, reports a new survey commissioned by Redwood Software.
What bugs customers the most? Redwood found that in many cases, it wasn’t one incident that made customers give up on a company, but rather, a series of inconveniences or errors that built up until the final straw “breaks the camel’s back.” Here are some of customers’ pet peeves:
More than three-fourths (76 percent) of shoppers have left physical stores, and 65 percent have left ecommerce sites, because they couldn’t quickly find what they were looking for.
Making a trip to a physical store, then finding the product they wanted is out of stock, drives nearly half of customers (46 percent) crazy; 36 percent are irritated when ecommerce sites are out of what they were looking for.
Nearly half (45 percent) get frustrated when sales clerks have to physically check for in-store inventory that’s not on shelves. And 38 percent get annoyed when the clerk can’t tell them if a desired product is available on the company’s ecommerce site or another store.
Hassles involved with returning products to a physical store annoy 37 percent of customers. Delays in refunding money are especially bothersome, with 52 percent saying they’re irked when refunds take too long to go back into their accounts.
If you’re an ecommerce company, make sure you acknowledge receipt of returns. More than a third (38 percent) of shoppers say that not receiving an acknowledgement is a pet peeve. It’s also crucial to make sure your site loads quickly. Almost half of shoppers say they’ve given up an online purchase because it took too long or was too complicated.
Sometimes, customer service causes as much annoyance as the problems it’s supposed to solve. Some 62 percent of shoppers say they dislike having to input information into an automated phone system, only to have the live operator immediately ask them for the same info. And nearly 60 percent got upset when they were transferred to multiple departments on the phone and had to keep repeating themselves.
Some of this is simply common sense, but it’s important for small business owners to realize that what may seem like petty annoyances can quickly add up. Over half (51 percent) of respondents in the survey say they’ve changed suppliers or ended contracts when a company repeatedly fails to deliver adequate service.
Try testing your own website and in-store experience to make sure both are as seamless, interconnected and streamlined as they can possibly be. In today’s tough economy, you may not get a second chance to win a customer back.
Image by Flickr user sboneham (Creative Commons)