Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Gerardo A Dada, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Craig Lowell

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
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for s...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...