Target, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Best Buy Lead in Holiday Customer Service According to ClickFox Research

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2013 Holiday Customer Experience Survey Shows Consumers Will Demonstrate
False Loyalty and Report Negative Service Experience

Atlanta, GA – ClickFox, the pioneering leader in experience analytics, today
announced the results of a consumer survey evaluating the customer service
experience during the busy holiday buying season. With less time between
Thanksgiving and Christmas to purchase gifts, consumers indicated that they
expect retailers to provide poor customer service and are willing to
sacrifice great customer experience in order to buy the gifts they need on
time. Target, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Best Buy were revealed as the top
retailers offering the best customer service during the holiday season
despite Black Friday lines and online competition. Additional shifting
consumer behaviors point to increased churn on customer service
infrastructure to report negative customer experiences and new influences
leading customer purchasing decisions.
“Consumers continue to prefer online retailers over going to the store. It’s
convenient. They can easily see if the product is in stock and compare
prices,” notes Marco Pacelli, ClickFox CEO. “Negative in store experiences
also encourages new brand journeys where consumers purchase product and
resolve service issues in new or untraditional channels.

The survey findings point to two key warnings for retailers. First and
foremost, consumers will demonstrate a false loyalty to their usual brands
during the holiday season as price becomes the most important factor in
consumer engagement while they are likely to demonstrate true loyalty
throughout the rest of the calendar year. Secondly, if negative service
experiences are not resolved at the first point-of-contact, consumers get
the attention of service representatives in different ways, including
self-service via email, leaving negative reviews on social sites, and
calling customer service as a last resort.
“Many retailers have a siloed view in their engagement with their
customers,” says Pacelli. “It is important to realize that consumers are
more likely than ever to leave a trail of negative engagements in multiple
channels before calling the contact center.”

Online Customer Experience Continues to Resonate with Customers, Year Over
Year
ClickFox research pointed to a continued adoption of e-commerce by consumers
as the preferred storefront of choice with 55 percent of respondents
indicating that they plan to do the bulk of their holiday shopping online.
While mobile commerce continues to be a major news driver in retail
communities, only 2 percent of respondents intend to purchase the bulk of
their gifts using mobile engagement hinting that the platform is currently
being used as an engagement and evaluation tool by consumers rather than a
hard sales channel.

Brick and Mortar Retail Drives Negative Service Experience

Unsurprisingly, consumers clearly indicated that negative customer
experiences are driven by representatives across the sales floor, contact
center and returns process, which may be attributed to untrained temporary
workers hired to meet holiday demand. Customer service hotlines and sales
floor representatives are the worst offenders with 31 percent and 29 percent
respectively of consumers identifying them as the worst service touch points
during the holiday season. Negative contact center experiences can be
mitigated with more accurate consumer data and better proactive
communication on order status while consistently negative experiences with
sales floor representatives point to a lack of training. The returns process
came in at a close third place in providing negative experience of 23
percent of consumers polled.

Consumers are most likely to respond to negative service experiences
in-store by contacting store management to resolve issues according to 32
percent of respondents, placing a strong burden on retail storefronts to
solve service inquiries in person or else risk escalation on contact centers
and additional service channels. If consumers are unable to resolve their
inquiries at the retail storefront, 20 percent of respondents polled will
send an email to customer service hotline and over 16 percent will write a
negative review on product review websites or on other social media. Only 8
percent of consumers audited noted that they would most likely report a
negative service experience via customer service hotlines, indicating
dwindling consumer belief in the channel to resolve their problems.

Service Abandonment and Shifting Influences

Consumers clearly indicated that they believe retailers emphasize having the
best deals and prices the most during the holiday season for over 78 percent
of respondents, and that giving the best customer service during the holiday
season is the lowest priority, according to 51 percent of respondents.
Consumers initially seemed to mirror retailers in their prioritization with
55 percent of consumers polled identifying having the best deals and prices
as the most important factor when buying gifts and 61 percent of consumers
noting that they care about rewards programs the least. Consumers also
indicated a willingness to hunt for products from multiple retailers with 30
percent of respondents identifying the ability to purchase multiple gifts
from the same store as the least important factor in selecting a retailer
during the holiday season.
Despite continued investment in marketing campaigns to shift brand loyalty
and consumer behavior, ultimately peer influences from friends and family
members were noted as the most influential in directing holiday shopping for
consumers followed by online holiday advertising, online product reviews,
holiday advertising on television and sales floor representatives. These
insights clearly indicate the destination shopping mindset of consumers as
they are influenced by their closest advisors and are not by sales
representatives who could drive additional spending once in store.

Aside from traditional influences on holiday spending, ClickFox research
also audited which specific social channels provided the maximum impact on
consumers. Contrary to what one might assume, social media does not directly
influence purchasing as indicated by 70 percent of respondents. Facebook was
the most influential with over 18 percent indicating that content they saw
on Facebook influenced their purchase. Pinterest and Google + were tied for
second most influential each with 4
percent of the vote. Twitter and Instagram registered as the least
influential with 1.5 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

The ClickFox 2013 Holiday Customer Experience survey was conducted to
explore changing consumer views on the holiday buying experience. The survey
provides timely and relevant information reflecting 535 consumers and their
opinions from across the United States. Of the respondents, 303 disclosed
full demographic information including gender, age range, income and
geographic region. Of the respondents, 47 percent were men and 53 percent
women. The ages ranged from 19 percent 18-29 year olds, 27 percent 30-44
year olds, 34 percent 45-60 year olds and 20 percent 60 year olds and older.
In terms of household income, 23 percent made less than $24,999, 17 percent
$25-49,999, 26 percent $50-99,999, 18 percent $100-149,999, and 16 percent
earned over $150K. Over 89 percent of respondents had some college or higher
degree.

About ClickFox

ClickFox is the market leader of a new breed of experience analytics
software and solutions, connecting billions of interactions across every
channel into comprehensive journeys. Beyond a limited single-channel view,
ClickFox patented journey analysis engine provides a visually intuitive
mapping of all customer interactions from IVR, retail, Web, and email to
agent CRM desktops, mobile devices and interactive kiosks. The CEA Platform
facilitates discovery and reveals bottom-line customer insights. Deployed by
Fortune 500 companies, ClickFox has a proven track record of helping
world-class service providers dramatically boost operational efficiency and
profitability. Today, the CEA platform holds journey experiences for
hundreds of millions of consumers. Visit www.clickfox.com for further
information.

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Candace Metoyer| Edelman Silicon Valley| 1.650.762.2978
|[email protected]

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