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99% of shoppers name customer service the top priority

American Express and the National Retail Federation study found that 99% of shoppers interviewed said that customer service was at least somewhat important to them when deciding to make a purchase, eWeek reports. 16% of brick-and-mortar shoppers said they were extremely satisfied with their most recent customer service experience.

American Express and the National Retail Federation study found that 99% of shoppers interviewed said that customer service was at least somewhat important to them when deciding to make a purchase, eWeek reports. 16% of brick-and-mortar shoppers said they were extremely satisfied with their most recent customer service experience. 51% said they were very satisfied. Online shoppers were almost three times as likely to be extremely satisfied with their customer service experience (44%). 45% were very satisfied. Courteous treatment was the answer from 67% of the participants, while almost as many (65%) said they wanted to be made to feel like a "valued customer."

Retailers lost points for some negative customer service behavior, such as pressuring customers to buy (69%) and being unable to find employees to help (61%). Having a "neat and clean store" was "extremely important" for 60% of the participants. The vast majority of online consumers (88%) said that "an extremely important component" of Web customer service is delivering "a safe and secure Web site." On-time merchandise delivery (73%) and quick answers (74%) were also mentioned.

Privacy cropped up as a top concern with both online (78%) and offline (73%) customers. Accurate item pricing was another priority with both online (75%) and offline (71%) customers, along with the belief that merchants would fix defective products. For that one, online customers (74%) were slightly more nervous than their brick-and-mortar (63%) counterparts. The survey also showed strong online and offline consumer desire for clear, fair and non-argumentative return policies.