Customer service is falling through the Net

Robert Dwek’s final comment piece (MW October 24) brought to light some concerning issues surrounding online customer service.

It is a worry that online shops, such as Amazon, seem to have prioritised company growth to the detriment of customer focus. Particularly since many dot-coms were founded on their customer service beliefs and the fact that websites are perfectly suited, through their real-time capacity, to maximising the customer experience.

Unfortunately, it’s not just pure online brands that seem to be neglecting the customer. Recent Broadsystem research undertaken with Cranfield School of Management revealed that less than half of the UK’s leading companies respond to a customer request within 72 hours, and 30 per cent do not respond at all.

With many consumers more likely than ever to use a company website to find company contact details, it would seem the wait for specific information (once an enquiry has been submitted by phone, e-mail or webform) will be a long one.

Only 11 of the 100 company websites surveyed gave an indication as to when they were likely to respond to online queries – typical response time specified being within 24 to 48 hours. Less than ten per cent of websites had an option for an enquiry specifically chosen by the user. And only 32 per cent of websites gave obvious assurances of privacy and personal data protection.

Few sites are able to offer a fast or convenient way of providing a response. In addition, requesting the channel in which this information is communicated back to the customer is an area that many fail to address. More and more companies are promising a “customer-focused service”, yet too many seem intent on being company- rather than customer-oriented.

Ian Freeman

Head of marketing

Broadsystem

Eulogy!

London WC1

mw.editorial@centaur.co.uk include your home/business address

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