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



London WC1 include your home/business address

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here