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Think your low-tech parents are frustrating? What about the tech shortcomings of retailers?

A new research study from Eckoh shows that tech-savvy consumers are increasingly aggravated by the lack of tech savvy and inconsistencies among multichannel retailers. According to Essential Retailing, many retailers claiming to be committed to multichannel strategies are coming up short when consumers try to contact them. In fact, the study showed, the majority of tech-savvy customers believe they are actually “more multichannel than retailers.”

retail point of saleIn addition to long wait times for phone calls and complex telephone menus, 73% of UK customers in the survey said they have to repeat details of a complaint in separate interactions despite the retailer claiming they are multichannel.

Contacting retailers by phone is a double-edged sword. While 32% of respondents said the phone is still the most useful way of communicating with service providers, 47% find the phone most annoying. Online chat services were declared the “most convenient” while email was cited as the most frustrating method of communication.

“In too many cases, shoppers find that their service providers are implementing ‘multi-flannel’ strategies, better at hindering communication than improving it,” Tony Porter, head of global communications at Eckoh told Essential Retailing. “Retailers without a coherent customer service infrastructure are, in the eyes of the customers, at best falling short of expectations, and at worst are seen as deliberately obstructive.”

Eckoh’s report said the average UK consumer uses around seven different electronic communication channels (e.g., Whatsapp, Facebook), all all accessed through one mobile device. “Customers are adept at organizing data across multiple channels, and their expectations are correspondingly high,” said Porter. “There are many companies that do an outstanding job of integrating their communication with customers. Communications have transformed in the last decade – and staying ahead of the curve requires commitment, expertise and resource. On the flip side, there are many companies that still have customers who are probably better at joined up multi-channel communication.”

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