Ecommerce: Integrating Online With Offline

I came across new research today by Tealeaf detailing just how poor online customer service has gotten with retailers. Tealeaf’s annual Online Customer Experience survey found that 90 percent of consumer encounter difficulties with online transactions, prompting nearly half of consumers to ditch the transaction altogether.

In an industry that now places so much emphasis on the importance of the customer experience, it’s somewhat ironic that surveys such as these are finding such pitiable results. The results also speak to the long-held disconnect traditionally found between Web sites and CRM systems, and it’s where integrating online and offline channels can help. From a service perspective, many retailers are only beginning to integrate their online channels with their call centers. Many that have both an online retail site and a phone-based catalog have failed to, or are just beginning to, integrate the two. The result is a consumer can spend hours surfing a company’s Web site, then call the contact center only to discover the agent has no knowledge or the shopper’s presence or activities.

It’s a problem we still see many of our own customers attempting to tackle, usually by building custom integrations between lead sources and certain Web pages on their Web site into SugarCRM’s reporting and case management engine. The results are usually a more consistent experience across a multitude of channels and improved ROI thanks to happier customers.