Online shoppers increasingly seek assistance through the Internet rather than dialing customer service. In top e-commerce countries, most consumers use the phone only as a last resort. Retailers are responding to the trend. More global brand sites provide forms for web and email feedback than local customer service numbers, according to L2’s Intelligence Report: Localization.
While 91% of sites examined in the study offer web and email forms, only 86% provide customer service hotlines – numbers that could continue to shift along with consumer preferences. However, the study also shows that live chat has been slower to catch on, even in countries with high digital penetration.
While nearly half of U.S. brand sites examined in the study offer live chat, that number drops to 18% worldwide. Outside the U.S. and U.K., no major department stores support the feature. Even in South Korea, which enjoys one of the world’s highest digital penetration rates, not a single brand site offers live chat. This suggests that there is little urgent reason to integrate the costly feature in those countries – although retailers outside the U.S. who launch the service could enjoy a competitive advantage.