Australian online businesses need to start capturing shoppers’ attention more quickly, with a new piece of research showing over one-third of local buyers abandon a website because they have difficulty getting help online.
The results speak in favour of those companies which have already started using online customer service features, such as live chat.
The research, conducted by marketing group Loudhouse on behalf of LivePerson, a provider of customer management software, also found more than half of Australians will abandon a site if they don’t receive help in their expected timeframe.
The research found 87% of shoppers said they needed some form of help – meaning the vast majority of consumers are just a few seconds away from leaving any retail site at any time.
Dustin Dean, vice president of Asia-Pacific at LivePerson, told SmartCompany Australians are more likely to abandon a website if they don’t get help than any other country in the company’s global survey.
“I can’t say I’m surprised,” he says.
“If companies aren’t providing the right type of information at the right moments to visitors and customers, irrespective of channel, they’re going to be challenged.”
The survey found Australian shoppers are less likely to be satisfied with service they receive both in-store and online, compared with other markets.
This is possibly due to Australians’ need for speed – 25% of respondents expect help immediately when requested.
The main reasons for abandoning a purchase include unexpected costs at 69%, lack of information at 59%, navigation difficulties at 52%, and not being able to find answers to questions at 44%.
Difficulty in getting help on a website was cited by 36% as their main reason for abandonment.
But the most practical findings lay in questions regarding real-time help. Out of the 1000 respondents, 79% said they prioritise getting their issue resolved quickly, and 55% want that done in a single interaction – 62% want a problem resolved within a five-minute timeframe, and 54% would give up immediately or only seek help once.
Dean argues there are too many companies which view the online medium as an automatic operation, where consumers don’t have to expect the same type of service.
“They think sites are like a vending machine, and the reality is that it’s not the case.
“I think you have to offer the richness and the depth of the experience of the storefront – especially given access to information now is just so rapid.”
This obviously means access to easily answered questions, such as a FAQ, but also investment in more advanced features – like real-time chat.
“Customers are going to come back to the sites that provide this type of information and service,” he says.
“This is not simply about making a one-time purchase. You need to create relationships with customers and create an experience that enhances the shopping.
“This is not a new concept. Great retailers have been practising it for decades. It’s just a matter of making sure your web presence is as rich as your physical storefront.”