2020 has seen more people than ever turn to online shopping as coronavirus pandemic restrictions stop those who use the high street from accessing their usual stores. This has seen an increase in business for online retailers of all types but has also opened up their services to those who wouldn’t normally choose to make their purchases on the internet.
Consumer review platform Feefo has carried out a survey of over 2,000 UK shoppers survey of over 2,000 UK shoppers who have bought products or services online this year, and the results have uncovered some interesting quirks and buying habits well ingrained in the public’s purchasing behavior. Amongst these findings is the prevalence of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) usage. 80% of online shoppers refer to FAQs to find the information they need when shopping online, so they are clearly imperative in an online customer service offering.
The importance of FAQs was well demonstrated in another question too, where shoppers aired their common frustrations in online purchases. 53% said that their biggest pet peeve was not being able to find the answers to the questions they had about the purchase process, products, and services – which of course is easily negated by a thorough and well-written FAQs page being present on the site.
There is an old customer service mantra that says “the best customer service is no customer service”. This certainly is good business – not having to refer customers (existing and potential) to a paid member of staff for every query is cost-effective and allows for a quicker purchase process with as few steps as possible for customers.
Whilst there is definitely an appreciation that ‘in-person’ service will never be the same as an online customer service offering, there are still heavy expectations on brands to offer good service – no matter the channel. Feefo’s survey also found that 3 in 10 people expect a response in less than 10 minutes to any question they pose, and 43% would like answers and information in written form via e-mail.
What’s more, 79% of online shoppers click straight through to Google or Amazon once they’ve decided that they want to buy something. While this may initially seem like a barrier to small businesses competing in the online space, it actually can be a good thing – providing the purchase process is as similar as possible to those sites, it will be familiar and easy for customers to use and will seamlessly allow for a transition to a new retailer.
Feefo Head of Digital, Richard Tank says ‘While Google’s online monopoly on the web has long been documented, it’s clear that Amazon is now just as prominent as the search engine, even though it’s technically an online retailer. It’s important to recognise that while consumers may start their search on these websites, they often end up buying from somewhere else. Today’s digital landscape is ever-changing and businesses have to meet the needs of their customers across the whole purchase journey in order to maintain sales and brand loyalty. The findings of this survey emphasize that.’
Resolving buyer issues before they arise is the easiest possible way to deal with queries, and with a robust FAQ page in place, online retailers are already halfway there.
Tank goes on to say ‘Consumer confidence and trust is essential to developing an online business that grows, and lasts. While the influence of the ‘big two’ won’t be changing anytime soon, brands small and large must do everything they can to build relationships with their customers, to ensure they keep coming back for more. Listening, learning and developing more personalized customer experiences is key to long term success. Technology as an enabler must be fully utilized in order for online businesses to achieve this.’