New research has revealed that 63% of shoppers would leave a store and find a product elsewhere – or never shop at the store again – if their expectations weren’t met.

The research from global provider of workforce management solutions, Humanforce, shows customer service expectations have escalated during COVID-19, with 73% of Australian consumers saying a positive experience in-store is even more important to them now than it was prior to the pandemic. Additionally, the vast majority (79%) of consumers said they now would not or might not remain loyal to a retailer if they received poor customer service.

The highest expectation from shoppers (89%) was that staff were friendly and helpful, followed by knowledgeable about in-store or online sales and promotions (69%), knowledgeable about all products (64%), able to process purchases, returns and click and collect transactions quickly (62%), and know when out of stock products or new products are due in store (59%).

Furthermore, 88% of Australian consumers said that they find they know more about a brand and its products than the sales associate when shopping in-store, and 30% said they found customer service levels bad or mediocre.

“Retailers are continuing to face extremely difficult conditions, with Australia being dragged into recession by COVID-19,” Humanforce CEO, Clayton Pyne said.

“However, our survey has found that despite the negative flow on effects of the economic downturn on retail, there is no room for retailers to drop the ball on consumer expectations, and instead they must work harder than ever before to step up their customer service game.

“Australian consumers’ expectations since the pandemic began are sky high and their loyalty will be harder to attract than ever before. This means one bad experience or poor customer service interaction could see a shopper abandoning their purchase, or even the entire brand forever, and being sent straight to a competitor.”