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Simplr State of CX Holiday Shopping Study Reveals Gaps in Digital Customer Service

65% of Ecommerce Brands Offered No Pre-Sale Chat

During the 2020 holiday shopping season, where the importance of high-touch customer service was arguably never higher, many ecommerce brands failed to deliver on basic digital CX: 64% of brands did not even allow customers to conduct a pre-sale live chat on their site, according to Simplr's State of CX Holiday Shopping Study. Meeting online customers in the moment is as important as greeting in-person customers at the door and the data points to the importance of the human touch: only 4% of chatbot "conversations" gave the customer an answer to their question without human intervention.

91% of consumers in the study rated chatbot experiences with no human intervention as “poor” or “very poor.”

Simplr, a human-first, machine-enabled customer experience solution, partnered with Sinclair Metrics to measure over 650 ecommerce businesses during "Cyber 5" (Black Friday through the day after Cyber Monday). The findings represent 1,950 pre-sale customer service interactions via live chat and email during the peak browsing hours of 5pm-12pm EST.

"While production and shipping delays are often not in a brand's control, providing timely, empathetic customer service certainly is," said Eng Tan, CEO and founder of Simplr. "Yet this study demonstrates the majority of brands didn't seize that control. Instead, they served up customer neglect on their websites that would rarely happen in a store, making it that much harder to earn trust, and revenue, from today's NOW customers who expect brands to do better."

Chat's potential for customer neglect
Human, pre-sale chat support is the online equivalent of a fully-staffed bustling store floor. Yet most companies in the study failed to provide sufficient chat support during the hours of 5pm-12pm EST. 

  • 55% did not have a visible chat bubble 
  • 20% had a chat bubble telling customers to come back "during working hours"
  • 17% had a chat bubble stating that chat "wasn't available" 

Live chat's "feel good" factor
Live chat matters to consumers. Of chats that offered human interaction, 75% of consumers reported feeling understood and supported and/or appreciated and engaged, "like they really cared about me." Only 15% reported feeling neglected or disappointed, "like they didn't care enough or know how to support me."

Conversely, 91% of consumers in the study rated chatbot experiences with no human intervention as "poor" or "very poor." 

Revenue impact
"Based on data from Similar Web Pro and Simplr conversion data, we estimate companies that neglect customers via chat could be missing upwards of $20M a year in revenue," said Tan. "According to Forrester Research, over fifty percent of consumers will abandon a purchase if they don't get a quick enough response, meaning a company not only risks a lost sale but the likelihood that person many never come back, choosing instead a more responsive competitor."

While customer neglect costs a company in missed revenue, the study showed considerable benefit to the 40+ brands that did offer exceptional chat experiences, including Daily Harvest, J. Crew and YETI. Consumers in the study that had an exceptional experience with live chat said they were "very likely" to recommend the company to friends and family and would "most likely" repurchase from the brand again.

Click here for more information on the Simplr State of CX study.

About the Report
Simplr partnered with Sinclair Metrics to mystery shop 650+ ecommerce businesses during the "Cyber 5" – the five days spanning Black Friday through Giving Tuesday. All businesses: sell direct to consumer, have more than $100M annual revenue; more than 500,000 monthly website visitors, according to SimliarWeb Pro data.