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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : June 16, 2011

Customer service email a "black hole" in UK

Despite fierce competition for a share of online consumers' increasingly tight wallets, UK companies are neglecting their online customer service offerings and damaging their brand, according to new research from customer interaction technology firm Eptica.

by Helen Leggatt

eptica-logo.gifConsumers searching the websites of British firms for answers to questions, or who send email queries to firms, are likely to be disappointed.

Eptica's analysis of the online customer service performance of 100 leading UK organizations across 10 sectors, including John Lewis, British Airways, Vodafone, Amazon and Barclays Bank, found that, on average, only half of basic questions could be answered.

Consumers that can't find the answers to a question on a company website often turn to email to find the answers. Unfortunately for some, this route can also prove fruitless.

Eptica calls email a "black hole" for customers with almost half (47%) failing to acknowledge receipt, and 27% of companies ignoring email altogether.

To add to the frustration, if an email reply is finally forthcoming, less than half (48%) contain an answer to the customer's question.

Incredibly, 13% of companies provided no visible means for non-customers to email customer service from their website.

"Some of the findings, particularly in relation to the lack of responsiveness via email are unforgivable," said Dee Roche, European Marketing Director at Eptica.

"Damage to a brand, high customer churn and lost sales opportunities can all be avoided if the company develops an integrated and consistent approach to its online customer service."

Tags: brand management, customer service, ecommerce, email management, Eptica

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