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Effective December 31, 2012, articles are no longer being updated on this web site.
The site is now maintained as an historical archive, covering articles from the period 1999 to 2012.


BRIDGING THE CUSTOMER SERVICE DIVIDE

Source: Business 2.0

Posted on April 17, 2001

      Each day it becomes increasingly apparent how deeply the perception of your Website affects the image of your brick-and-mortar store. In fact, in the minds of consumers, the bifurcation has all but disappeared.

      Here's the latest revelation: Poor customer service online may not just keep consumers from returning to your site, it could hurt your offline sales as well. A recent study by Jupiter Media Metrix revealed that 70 percent of the respondents plan to spend less money at their retailer's brick-and-mortar store if they were dissatisfied with the shopping experience at the merchant's Website.

      The biggest pet peeves: email response times that take longer than six hours, and clueless online customer service reps. The study also showed how desperately consumers want the separation between the offline and online experience to disappear. More than 80 percent of those polled would like to be able to return their online purchases at the physical stores; likewise, nearly two-thirds said they want to order products online and pick them up at the stores (much like what 7-Eleven does in Japan).

      The message for retailers is clear: Customers expect the same service, whether it's online or in the store. If you excel in your physical location, you must also excel online. If you do one well but not the other, the image of your entire organization is in jeopardy. Customers know that. Now it's time for merchants to catch up.




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