Study finds email black hole in online customer service
A new study has found that less than half of websites and email channels are able to answer basic customer service questions.
The 2011 UK Multichannel Customer Service Study revealed an email black hole with less than half of companies (48%) correctly answering questions posed over email, 47% not acknowledging receipt of the email and one in four (27%) failing to respond at all.
The in-depth study by Eptica, the multi-channel customer interaction management software, looked at how customer service performance was faring at 100 leading UK organisations with regard to their ability to answer simple routine questions via email and their website. It also identified whether they had integrated their customer service with social media.
The report found that as websites were only able to provide the answer to 50% of enquiries on average, consumers were being forced to contact companies via email, but this by no means guaranteed a better service.
The time it took to respond to emails varied massively with the longest answer taking five days (120 hours), and the average time taking 20 hours and 41 minutes. Only 28% of companies were able to provide responses within their own specified timeframes. However, receiving a fast and accurate response is possible with one company responding with within three minutes.
Dee Roche, european marketing director at Eptica, commented: “This report signals a wake-up call for the industry. Customers don’t want to feel as if they’ve disappeared into a black hole where their voice is not being heard. Some of the findings, particularly in relation to the lack of responsiveness via email are unforgiveable. Damage to a brand, high customer churn and lost sales opportunities can all be avoided if the company develops an integrated and consistent approach to its online customer service.”
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