Given the increasing sophistication of the link between customer satisfaction and profitability, these figures bode well for the future internet traders.
Overall customer satisfaction with online trading is now actually higher than with traditional retail (77 against 74.8, on a scale of 100). This is revealed in a new report that is part of the quarterly American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). ACSI is produced by the University of Michigan Business School, ASQ and CFI Group and the e-commerce report is produced in partnership with Foresee Results, a new company that specialises in web customer satisfaction. The report rates e-commerce overall as well as individual companies in four key online categories: portals, financial services, auctions and retail.
Among e-commerce companies, Amazon came top with a score of 84. Barnes and Noble and eBay were next. While the numbers provide cause for optimism for e-commerce and the economy at large, Foresee's CEO, Larry Freed, says that the competition is going to get tougher.
Portals did not do as well: AOL came last with a score of 58. According to Freed, "AOL's score is representative of a common struggle among portal companies - not quite knowing what to give customers who still do not know exactly what they want from portals."
Do what really matters
Freed says: "We're getting past the 'try anything cool' days of delivering services and experiences on the web. If companies can get over trying to be cool or trying to deliver every flashy thing they can think of, they're going to accomplish two things: they're going to find out what actually matters to customers, and they're going to get profitable. If the ACSI can help show what's working and what's not in terms of customer satisfaction, we can help evolve this industry. This is exactly what we tell our customers - get a handle on what matters to customers, not just what you think might matter, and you'll get a loyal, satisfied customer base and profitability. Nobody is going to throw millions of dollars at web sites because of eyeballs, stickiness, hits, and clicks. Now it's about satisfaction, loyalty, and buying behaviour."
Previous ACSI article: More satisfaction from paying taxes than flying