Despite retailers' best efforts to improve customer experience and engagement, research by conversational commerce platform iAdvize has found that the majority of UK consumers look to peers when making a purchasing decision, rather than the retailer or brand.
A recent survey conducted by iAdvize has found that three quarters (75%) of customers trust their peers' opinions and knowledge of products more than those of retailer staff, and more than half (54%) find previous customer product reviews more influential than retailer advice. And a further 17% said that they would be more persuaded to buy something if they were offered assistance by another customer over a member of staff. This highlights the need for retailers to implement authentic customer service platforms and to champion existing loyal customers in an advocacy role to better connect with customer needs.
Whenever customers need help, it is essential to offer the right channel. 85% of consumers said they want to be offered a choice of customer service options when seeking help during their purchasing journey.
Live web chat came out on top in terms of convenience and demand with almost three quarters (73%) of respondents claiming they'd find live chat helpful. And over a quarter (26%) said chat would make them more likely to shop with the brand online and purchase more. Indeed, 79% of customers said that they'd find live online chat with a savvy peer or regular customer helpful when seeking information to influence their buying decision.
Upcoming channels such as live video chat, messaging app chat and social media communications also rated highly among the 'newer' customer support channels that customers would like to see retailers embrace.
Julien Hervouët, CEO at iAdvize, commented: "It's interesting to see the crucial role that regular customers now play in the sales process as it's often an area that many retailers leave uninfluenced. But with 58% of regular customers claiming they would help their preferred retailer in an advocate capacity, and 1 in 10 willing to give up their time for free, retailers need to seriously consider a strategy for greater brand endorsement."
He continued: "With more than half (53%) of consumers saying that instant online advice is the most convenient way to get their questions answered, retailers need to ensure that they are exploring new channels to remain relevant to the modern day, cross-channel consumer. We live in an age where channel, experience, authenticity and convenience must all work together to drive business success – and peer chat solutions, such as ibbü, could be the way forward."