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Web Glitches, Poor Service Cost Firms Online Sales

Reuters
Monday, 17 Sep 2007 | 10:39 AM ET

Web site glitches and bad customer service are putting online sales at risk and sending potential customers into the arms of competitors, according to a U.S. study released Monday.

Forty-two percent of consumers who experienced problems during an online transaction switched to a competitor or completely abandoned their effort, according to a study commissioned by Tealeaf Technology, which helps businesses monitor consumers' experience on their sites.

The study was conducted by market research firm Harris Interactive.

Another 52 percent who have experienced bad service from a contact center after they had a problem online have completely stopped doing business with the company, the survey found.

"I think what companies have not recognized is the change in consumer shopping behavior," said Rebecca Ward, CEO of Tealeaf. "If you have a bad experience it's very easy to go to www.somebodyelse.com."

The proliferation of Web sites has made it easier for online shoppers to be finicky, switching to a competitor when they encounter a confusing site or an error message, instead of working through it, she said.

For a third straight year, about nine out of 10 online shoppers said they had experienced problems, the survey found.

Harris Interactive conducted the survey between Aug. 13 and Aug. 21. It surveyed 2,420 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, who are online.