Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Ben Uher, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Derek Weeks, Elizabeth White

Blog Feed Post

UK companies struggle to deliver online customer service

Study finds businesses unable to provide answers to nearly half of basic questions online and close to quarter of businesses shut off email channel

Reading, 5 November 2012: UK consumers are being let down by second class customer service through the web, email and social media channels, according to a new study released today. 100 leading companies were evaluated on their ability to provide answers to 10 routine questions via the web as well as their speed and accuracy when responding to email. The 2012 Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study found that websites could only answer just over half (53%) of customer questions, while company responses to email queries has worsened since 2011. Social media use had doubled, although many still failed to integrate social media into their overall customer service strategy.

Researchers were unable to email nearly a quarter (23%) of the companies in the study, as they either had removed the opportunity for non-customers to contact them through this channel or email addresses could not be easily found. Just 39% of the 100 businesses actually managed to respond with an accurate answer via email and on average companies took 64 hours 33 minutes to successfully reply to emails - 44 hours longer than a similar study undertaken in 2011. Response times varied greatly - two companies successfully answered email questions in a superfast 19 minutes, but another took one month to reply. Overall every one of the ten sectors surveyed answered emails slower on average than in 2011.

The in-depth study, carried out by multi-channel customer interaction management software provider Eptica, found a huge chasm between best and worst - for example, fashion companies answered a creditable 75% of questions asked on their websites, while CD/DVD/Booksellers and food retailers scored a paltry 40%.

While web performance improved from 2011's average of 50% of questions answered to 2012's 53% there was a major chasm between winners and losers. Over a quarter (28%) of companies performed worse in 2012 compared to last year - despite being asked exactly the same questions, through the same channels.

"At a time when recession is putting unprecedented strain on many companies, customer service is critical if businesses want to win and retain consumers - but this study shows that many organisations are still struggling to provide basic information or answer customer emails," said Dee Roche, Global Marketing Director, Eptica. "The fact that the performance of many companies has worsened over the last twelve months is disappointing to see - poor service will simply endanger sales in today's competitive market. Customers want to be able to contact companies through their channel of choice, so businesses need to adopt a joined-up, multichannel approach if they are to meet their needs."

Many companies seemed to be more successful on one channel than others - excelling on the web but then providing poor responses to email questions. Food retailers could only answer 40% of questions asked via the web, but successfully responded to 70% of emails.

The study also researched how companies were using social media to engage and interact with their customers. On the positive side, social media use had nearly doubled, with 64 companies having Facebook pages (against 33 in 2011) and 70 with Twitter (up from 36 in 2011). However only 11% linked customer service to these social media channels - showing they are still only at the beginning of the social customer service journey.

"Social media is transforming how consumers approach customer service as it provides a megaphone for them to broadcast their complaints to the world," said Dee Roche, Global Marketing Director, Eptica. "So it is positive to see that companies are embracing this new channel - they now need to integrate it with their overall customer service strategy to deliver a joined-up approach that is both consistent and efficient."

The overall average performance masked major differences between sectors and even companies within them. For example one food retailer scored 100%, answering all ten questions successfully - but at the same time three companies in the same sector scored just two out of ten. In total 17% of organisations answered 8 or more questions, however 20% were unable to answer more than three. Only two organisations could successfully answer all ten sector-specific questions asked on their websites.

Sector2012 % answered online (position)2011 answered online (position)
Fashion Retail75% (1st)64% (1st)
Travel63% (2nd)54% (2nd)
Utilities60% (3rd)52% (4th)
Electronics Retail58% (4th)54% (2nd)
Telecoms56% (5th)42% (10th)
Consumer Electronics55% (6th)48% (6th)
Insurance48% (7th)50% (5th)
Banking41% (8th)43% (8th)
CD/DVD/Books40% (9th)43% (8th)
Food retail40% (9th)48% (6th)

2012 Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study methodology
In total 100 company websites across the insurance, travel, CD/DVD/book retail, food retail, electronics retail, consumer electronics manufacturers, utilities, fashion retail, telecoms and banking sectors were evaluated in three areas in Q3 2012:
1. For their ability to answer ten basic, sector-specific questions via their website, such as What is your returns policy if I change my mind after purchase? (retailers) and How do I cancel my contract? (telecoms suppliers)
2. On the speed and accuracy of their response via their email channel
3. How they integrated links to sites such as Facebook, Twitter and forums into their overall customer service strategy.

An infographic that sums up the results can be found at http://www.eptica.com/IMG/jpg/TheEpticaMultichannelCustomerExperienceStudy.jpg

The 2012 Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study report can be downloaded from http://www.eptica.com/Customer-Experience-Study-2012.html

-ends-

About Eptica
Eptica is the leading European multilingual solution for Customer Interaction Management including Web Self-service, Social Customer Service, Email Management, Chat, Fax-Letter- SMS and Knowledge management for Customer Service. Available on premise or SaaS, Eptica software enables website and customer service channels to improve quality of service, resolve enquiries faster, reduce costs and maximize every sales opportunity. Today more than 370 customers, including some of the world's largest brands, in 15 countries, use Eptica solutions to deliver excellent customer service at much lower cost. Eptica's customers include: Dixons, Domestic & General, Haven Holidays, Republic, Panasonic, Virgin Holidays, Capita and Ageas Insurance Solutions.

Eptica is based in the UK, France, Spain and Singapore and operates worldwide through its network of partners. Eptica was awarded the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA in 2009 for the third consecutive year. The company's continuing innovation and strong performance resulted in Eptica's inclusion in Gartner's 2011 and 2010 Magic Quadrants for Web Customer Service.

For further information, please contact:
Measures Consulting
Chris Measures +44 (0) 7976 535147/[email protected]
Uday Radia +44 (0) 7940 584161/[email protected]

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By RealWire News Distribution

RealWire is a global news release distribution service specialising in the online media. The RealWire approach focuses on delivering relevant content to the receivers of our client's news releases. As we know that it is only through delivering relevance, that influence can ever be achieved.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Now that the world has connected “things,” we need to build these devices as truly intelligent in order to create instantaneous and precise results. This means you have to do as much of the processing at the point of entry as you can: at the edge. The killer use cases for IoT are becoming manifest through AI engines on edge devices. An autonomous car has this dual edge/cloud analytics model, producing precise, real-time results. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Eng...
There are 66 million network cameras capturing terabytes of data. How did factories in Japan improve physical security at the facilities and improve employee productivity? Edge Computing reduces possible kilobytes of data collected per second to only a few kilobytes of data transmitted to the public cloud every day. Data is aggregated and analyzed close to sensors so only intelligent results need to be transmitted to the cloud. Non-essential data is recycled to optimize storage.
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
As businesses adopt functionalities in cloud computing, it’s imperative that IT operations consistently ensure cloud systems work correctly – all of the time, and to their best capabilities. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Bernd Harzog, CEO and founder of OpsDataStore, will present an industry answer to the common question, “Are you running IT operations as efficiently and as cost effectively as you need to?” He will expound on the industry issues he frequently came up against as an analyst, and...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...