Top UK companies ignore online enquiries

The UK’s leading companies are alienating consumers and wasting millions by failing to handle effectively consumer enquiries that come in via their websites.

Less than half of the UK’s 100 biggest-spending advertisers responded to a customer request within 48 hours, and one in three (30 per cent) did not respond at all.

According to research by Cranfield School of Management, only 11 of the top 100 companies’ websites gave any indication as to when they were likely to respond to online queries, with the typical response time specified being within 24 to 48 hours.

The best were Orange, McDonald’s and Colt, followed by Ford and Wrigleys.

The research was commissioned by Broadsystem, the customer communication specialist. The companies were contacted via their website’s contact form, e-mail or telephone. If contacted by e-mail or webform, a response by text message or telephone was requested. If contacted by phone, a response by e-mail was requested.

Companies were rated on speed of response, and on whether the response was delivered via the communication method requested.

Dr Moira Clark, head of the CRM forum at Cranfield, says/ “Many sites are unable to offer a fast or convenient way of providing a response.”

Caroline Worboys, chief executive officer of Broadsystem, adds: “For something that is viewed as a more cost-effective method of retaining customers and attracting new ones, many company websites are seriously lacking in driving a rewarding and helpful customer experience.”

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