Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo, APM Blog, Pat Romanski

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
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, 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 buye...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.