Gomez UK launch to lift standards

Launch of website analysis system in UK to raise customer service standards towards US levels

US standards of customer service scrutiny have come a step nearer this week with the UK launch of Gomez.

With a growing reputation in the US as the JD Power of the online world, Gomez offers “scientific” analyses of corporate activity on the Internet. Its US site (www. gomez.com) uses 150 to 300 criteria to measure the effectiveness of companies’ online interactions with customers. Gomez surveys more than 35 company categories and plans to increase this figure “very rapidly”.

Gomez’s UK debut (http:// uk.gomez.com) is restricted to two categories: banking and stockbroking. Top dog in the first banking “scorecard” is Co-op-owned Smile, which has been criticised in other quarters for failing to live up to expectations.

Gomez ranks Smile significantly ahead of online offerings from high-street banks: its 7.13 rating compares with 5.7 for NatWest, 4.9 for Lloyds TSB and 4.81 for Barclays Bank.

While Gomez says the Smile site is “tightly integrated and maintains a cohesive feel throughout”, Lloyds’ “lacks a cohesive feel, with variable layout and multiple pop-up windows opening”. It claims the “wide range of products offered by Barclays Online are not well supported by the Barclays website”.

In its brokerage scorecard, Gomez awards first place to Charles Schwab Europe, followed by E*Trade and DLJdirect. TD Waterhouse, which recently bought Dealwise from the Skipton Building Society, comes sixth.

The arrival of Gomez in the UK will greatly increase the emphasis on customer experiences and customer feedback.

Gomez positions itself as the “professional” customer service analysis company and offers a bespoke service to companies through its GomezPro portal. But this emerging area is also

peopled by companies such as Epinions.com, Bizrate.com, Planetfeedback.com and Etown.com.

Gomez director of European business affairs James Hart describes the service as “a place for consumers to do due diligence”. He says the UK site will encourage consumer reviews and argues that Gomez will stand out from the competition because of its “objective and unbiased” ratings method.

“We turn our measurement into binary scores – ‘one’ or ‘nil’, which equates to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – and are therefore able to compare apples with apples.”

Hart stresses that Gomez’s “criteria and methodology are continuously evolving, as new services and technology come to the market.” He hopes to launch travel and retail scorecards later this year.

Gomez has signed a content licensing agreement with FTyourmoney.com.

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