This is an old article, but I would be interested in hearing from you if it's still accurate?
Monday, August 28, 2000
Customer service on the Web sucks. And I've got the research to prove it.
I've told you before of the importance of customer service for ecommerce sites. Today let's look at why top Web sites are still failing to measure up. Then you can take a turn and nominate the winning and losing shopping sites.
AND THE LOSERS ARE…
The Gartner Group surveyed customers of the Web's 50 most popular retail sites and found something astonishing: They're all losers.
Not one of them rose above a rating of "average" and most -- 73% -- were even lower at "fair."
Who am I talking about? Oh, just some obscure little sites like:
and 45 others
This group is supposed to be top tier, yet their customer service is bottom rung. For instance, of the top 50 online retailers:
Only 6% ask if the customer would like to be called
Only 24% have instant messaging
Only 28% ever acknowledge that they received an email
Want more proof? Research firm cPulse found that almost one-quarter of online retail customers were extremely dissatisfied with their shopping experience.
THE MISTAKES THEY MAKE
Gartner analyst Carol Ferrara says even big etailers make common mistakes. I've listed the five I think are the worst. They fall under the heading "Making the Customer Work to Get Service."
Hiding the link or tab to customer service
Requiring a customer to download software to access customer service
Requiring a password to get customer service
Lack of coordination between the online and offline storefronts, including knowledge of what was available
Lack of good customer service by phone
If you want to avoid the worst sites, visit e-BuyersGuide.com for consumer ratings of online retailers.
It's too bad that customer service, which is such an essential part of a successful online business, continues to be so crappy. Online buying will continue to grow, but at a much slower pace than it would if etailers were smart enough to take care of their customers.