What Keeps Online Services Consumers Happy? Good Service

    By | Small Business


    One hundred percent of 1,008 adults polled in May said “yes,” they regularly make purchases of goods or services online. And 59 percent say they’d rather interact with a vendor online than in person, by phone, or on email. Those statistics might have something to do with Avangate’s sampling methodology: its survey was conducted online. But other data collected by the digital commerce provider is of interest to any business making online sales.

    Seventy percent have used their cellphone to make a purchase, and more than 80 percent of those do so at least a few times a month; more than 20 percent make online purchases with their phones every week.

    Those who have never made a purchase using their phone cite several reasons. More than 40 percent either do not want to store sensitive data on their phone, 24 percent find it inconvenient to enter it, and more than 20 percent either don’t know how to make a purchase via cellphone or didn’t know it was possible. And 12 percent see no reason to switch from cash and credit cards.

    That last group is likely to dwindle further, considering that more than half of respondents have had to replace a credit card at least once in the last year due to a security breach.

    Only 12 percent of respondents feel “very secure” making online or mobile purchases, but most (more than 75 percent) feel “somewhat secure” or at least “secure enough to make purchases.” Another 6 percent don’t feel secure but make purchases anyway. Only 5 percent claim that they refuse to make online purchases due to security concerns.

    What would make consumers feel more secure? Nothing, say 6 percent. But others say that stronger authentication methods, trust in the vendor, or support from a respected payments processor could ease their concerns.

    What are these customers consuming online? Entertainment services are among the most used online services. Nearly 75 percent of respondents said they subscribe to services such as Netflix and Spotify. Productivity and professional services such as DropBox and TurboTax are popular among more than 36 percent of respondents. And 32 percent use hospitality and transportation services such as Airbnb and Uber. In fact, 56 percent of respondents use at least one services every day. About 33 percent of respondents paid for three or more online services last year.  And 78 percent made at least 3 recurring payments online—such as for insurance, cable, or streaming services—in the past month.

    Consumers like flexibility when it comes to committing to new online services:  50 percent will only subscribe to an online service if they can try it out first; 35 percent say free trials are important when selecting a premium online service; and 27 percent want to be able to change their subscription plan at any time.

    Credit and debit cards are, hands down, the most popular online payment method: a whopping 98 percent of consumers still use them to make purchases. But processors such as PayPal, Braintree, and Amazon are a close second choice. Few, so far, are using mobile payment processors such as Square and Dwolla: More survey respondents said they prefer paying by old-fashioned check than by newfangled mobile processor.

    Vendors of online services beware: consumers’ number one complaint is the difficulty reaching live support or customer service. And the top reasons shoppers abort online purchases: High-pressure sales tactics, excessive check-out procedures, continually having to re-enter card numbers, in that order. 

    And about those automatic renewals: 65 percent of consumers prefer you didn’t do that. One thing about shopping online is not different from the real world. The top feature that keeps customers coming back is exceptional customer service, with “receiving what was promised” a close second.

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