Web businesses lose customers to poor service

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on June 30, 2003

The managers of online shopping sites and services must now challenge the current thinking that says improving service is a form of philanthropy, according to a new white paper from independent research firm, Hewson Group.

The white paper, 'Beyond Philanthropy: How Improved Service Contributes to Efficiency and Profitability', draws on a wide range of research in examining the online shopping experience from start to finish, from finding out about a web site's existence to the actual ordering experience, through to post-sales service and continuing communication.

This research formed the basis for Hewson's report, 'Profit or Pain From Your User Experience'.

Key findings
The report asserts that online businesses are currently leaking customers at every point in the buying cycle, with otherwise excellent web sites often being let down by weak or non-existent pre- or post-sales service. Findings include:

  • 28% of visitors who want to buy online are prevented from doing so.
  • By improving the online experience to match the best competitor, even the worst grocer could increase online sales by as much as 480%!
  • For the average e-tailer, improved user experience could result in sales uplift of 33% - 54%.
  • Businesses can cut their contact centre's service costs by up to 70%.
  • 86% of all customer queries can be answered online.
  • Over 90% of consumers buy regularly from 5 sites or less per month.
  • 44% of UK shoppers said a bad online experience would discourage them from buying from that company's high street store.

Improvements due
Hewson Group makes a convincing case for the urgent need for improvements in the typical customer experience with web sites and services, and demonstrates the practical ways in which such improvements can be achieved.

According to Hewson, by simply improving the customer's end-to-end experience, a typical business can increase online sales by 64%, while at the same time reducing contact centre costs by as much as 70%.

Using down-to-earth advice, the white paper details three opportunities for service managers to transform the bottom line.

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