Retail and Consumer Goods

Retail customer service statistics from 2021 you need to know right now

Antonio Gonzalez

By Antonio Gonzalez

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Retail Growth The Next Generation Of Contact Centers

Discover the latest retail customer service statistics and insights on CX, contact center investments and agents’ roles.

In its latest report, Talkdesk Research™ focused on retailers’ challenges in driving growth through strong CX and the investments they are making to overcome those challenges. Powering retail growth: the next generation of contact centers presents the most important retail customer service statistics for 2021.

This report draws on a quantitative online survey of 200 retail CX professionals from across the globe, representing retail and eCommerce companies with more than 200 full-time employees.


In the following sections, you will find key customer service statistics, including: 


Access findings of interest by navigating the table above or read the full report here.

Retail customer service statistics on CX pain points and priorities.

Customers that have a pleasant shopping experience are more likely to continue shopping with the same brand. As found in our research, this dynamic is evident in retailers’ business performance. Retailers that have seen a significant increase in customer satisfaction have also experienced a significant increase in revenue.  To drive this growth, CX professionals are looking to overcome challenges in variability and volume in customer contact and better tailor interactions to customer needs. Improved data collection plays a clear role in plans to accomplish that goal.

Here are the most relevant retail customer service statistics regarding CX pain points and priorities:


Top 5 pain points that retail CX professionals are facing today.

Retail Growth The Next Generation

  1. Seasonal spikes. 50% of retail CX professionals said the top challenge they face is high variability/volatility in the volume of customer support needs (e.g., holiday or seasonal spikes, off-season dips).
  2. High costs. 44% of retail CX professionals said the top challenge they face is high costs or expenses for CX operations.
  3. Front-end integrations. 43% of retail CX professionals said the top challenge they face is lack of/poor integration between customer-facing systems and touchpoints.
  4. Back-end integrations. 39% of retail CX professionals said the top challenge they face is lack of/poor integration between non-customer-facing platforms and processes that support CX.
  5. Privacy and personalization. 38% of retail CX professionals said the top challenge they face is balancing customers’ privacy demands with their desire for personalization.


Top 10 strategic CX priorities of retail CX professionals.

Retail Growth The Next Generation Of Contact Centers 3

  1. Collecting, managing, and analyzing customer data across all relevant channels and touchpoints (49%).
  2. Expanding the number of channels available for customer engagement (48%).
  3. Delivering seamless interactions across customer touchpoints (41%).
  4. Offering more self-service options and features so customers can better help themselves (40%).
  5. Personalizing communications and guidance based on individual customer histories (40%).
  6. Automating repetitive tasks for customer service agents/employees (40%).
  7. Helping customers narrow down options or make decisions on products and services best suited to their needs (36%).
  8. Providing detailed information on products and services that addresses customer questions (36%).
  9. Allowing customers to interact with our organization on their channel of choice (36%).
  10. Providing customers with proactive recommendations on new and relevant products or services they weren’t aware of previously (34%).

Retail customer service statistics on contact centers.

Customer service is central to business growth, integral to the brand experience, and a driver for brand loyalty overall. The contact center is predicted to have a key role in driving business growth by serving as an interaction hub, sitting in the center of CX. The technology investment retailers are making today will have a significant impact on unlocking that potential.

AI is still yet to be explored to enhance the functionality of digital channels—only one-in-three retailers are using AI tools today to elevate the quality of self-service delivered to customers.


Customer self-service tools and capabilities retailers currently use.
  • Website tools: 56%.
  • Social media-based commerce: 52%.
  • FAQs pages or articles: 43%.
  • Mobile scan-and-go: 40%.
  • Simple keyword-based chatbot: 38%.
  • Online discussion forum: 37%.
  • Voice-based AI virtual agent: 32%.
  • Intelligent knowledge base: 30%.
  • Natural language-based chatbot: 29%.

Retail customer service statistics on contact center agents.

Agents are expected to have a deep understanding of customers and their needs, to expand customer relationships, and to be able to handle more complex customer questions and issues than before. Moreover, they should also be able to speak to their brand’s stance on social issues. This requires a comprehensive understanding of both customer and the brand that goes beyond the traditional contact center agent role. However, agents are challenged with consistently engaging customers and addressing their issues quickly.

Below you can find the most relevant statistics on retail contact center agents.


Top 10 challenges of retail contact center agents.

Retail Growth Executive Leadership

  1. Inadequate support from the corporate home office or executive leadership (44%).
  2. Consistently engage with customers across channels (42%).
  3. Responding to inbound customer queries in a timely manner to all incoming customer queries (42%).
  4. Tailoring interactions while respecting customer privacy (42%).
  5. Building meaningful virtual connections with customers (42%).
  6. Managing sudden spikes or changes in the volume of incoming customer queries (42%).
  7. Using customer information to identify and proactively communicate solutions to their needs (40%).
  8. Inadequate support from front-line management or supervisors (40%).
  9. Using new tools and technologies (36%).
  10. Maintaining required skills to succeed (33%).


Three new expectations for retail contact center agents today, compared to one year ago.

Retail Growth The Next Generation Of Contact Centers

  • Brand’s stance on social issues. 89% of retail CX professionals say their agents are expected to be better versed on their brand’s stance on social issues.
  • Customer needs. 88% of retail CX professionals say their agents are expected to have a deeper understanding of the customer and their needs.
  • Challenging questions. 85% of retail CX professionals say their agents are expected to handle more challenging customer questions/issues.


Download the report for an analysis of these and other retail customer service statistics and dig deeper into agents’ and AI’s roles in retail contact centers.

Powering Retail Growth The Next Generation Of Contact Centers


REPORT

Powering retail growth: The next generation of contact centers

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Antonio Gonzalez

Antonio Gonzalez

Antonio Gonzalez has been helping organizations navigate CX transformation and embrace new technologies through research and insights for five years, most recently with Gartner. He is based in Portland, Oregon, and tells himself this is the year he will get into mountaineering.