BERLIN, GERMANY – November 26, 2013 – Consumers around the world complain that customer service from companies barely works across multiple channels. As a recent Zendesk study found, 73 percent of consumers believe that cross-channel sales is more important for companies than a unified experience in customer service. In Germany, 67 percent have the same impression. And because users are not finding the options they want in order to find information or ask questions, they are increasingly turning to the phone.
According to the study, 37 percent of the consumers surveyed expect to always be able to contact the same customer service representative, regardless of the channel selected. In addition, nearly half (47 percent) of respondents want to be able to return their purchases through a channel other than the purchase channel, for instance, exchanging goods purchased online in a store. In Germany, this number is 53 percent. Only seven percent of global consumers are currently very satisfied with the cross-channel capabilities of customer service. In Germany, in particular, a poor user experience can have a negative impact for the respective brands: For 35 percent of German buyers, poor customer service is a reason to advise family and friends not to purchase this brand.
The customer journey does not end at the cash register, says Steffen Teske, Director for Central & Eastern Europe at Zendesk. Brands often fail to treat customer service the same as sales. The reality is that end users today expect a seamless customer experience across all channels.
Germans use different channels for purchases. Compared to other countries, German end users are champions in terms of purchasing through different channels. In the Zendesk study, three quarters of the respondents said they have made purchases through multiple channels in the past six months; only Brazil at 86 percent is ahead of Germany. The worldwide average for multi-channel shopping is 67 percent; in the US and the UK this figure is even below 60 percent. Shoppers in Germany consider it less important than consumers in other countries that their purchase is part of a bonus rewards system. Only 59 percent said that a reward for their purchase, feedback or recommendation is important. The global average is 66 percent.
The phone is the most reliable channel for customer support. With regard to the response time for customer service, expectations and reality are quite far apart in Germany: 88 percent of end users indicated that a fast response time is important, but only 44 percent rated the response times of customer service offerings as good or very good. For German consumers, the phone is the most frequently used service channel as they think they will receive the fastest response time when calling. For this reason, the phone is the first point of contact for more than half of all consumers worldwide.
Another reason for calling phone support is that the consumer does not receive a prompt response, or no response at all, in other channels. 71 percent of respondents worldwide pick up the phone if their e-mail request remains unanswered. 55 percent of people posting a question in a social media channel follow up by calling phone support. More than half (54 percent) call again if their first call to phone support went unanswered. The phone therefore rates as the most reliable service channel in all countries.
The study The Customer Service Gap in Omni-channel Strategies was conducted by the London-based independent market research agency Loudhouse on behalf of Zendesk, a leading provider of cloud-based customer service software. Omni-channel refers to a consistent and ongoing sales or customer service user experience across all channels such as e-mail, phone, chat or at the store. For the study, 7,000 consumers between the ages of 18 and 64 were surveyed in seven countries (US, Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, UK and Germany), 1,000 of them in Germany. The full report is available at: http://de.zendesk.com/blog/die-kundenservicelucke-bei-omni-channel-strategien
Zendesk provides cloud-based customer service software that brings companies and their customers closer together. More than 30,000 companies use Zendesk and provide customer service for over 200 million people worldwide. Customers include Groupon (Germany), Jenoptik and Disney. Zendesk was founded in 2007, is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in eight other countries. The company is funded by Charles River Ventures, Benchmark Capital, Goldman Sachs, GGV Capital, Index Ventures, Matrix Partners and Redpoint Ventures. Learn more at www.zendesk.de.
This is a translation of a press release originally issued in German.