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Poor service loses UK e-retail £20bn

By Retail Technology | Friday April 12 2013

Rude, slow and sloppy online responses affect 65% of online shoppers according to survey carried out by online customer helpdesk provider for small-to-midsized businesses

Nearly two thirds (65%) of people have received poor customer service online, according to a YouGov survey of over 2,000 UK consumers, with 64% stating that they would not return to a business that gave poor customer service. 

With online shopping in the UK topping £50bn in 2012, this has led online customer helpdesk provider SirPortly, which also commissioned the survey, to conclude that over £20bn could be lost as a result of customer dissatisfaction.

The survey also revealed that consumers are being let down online by slow, unsatisfactory or rude responses to enquiries made on the web. Consumers said that even if they liked a product or a service, they would not return to a business they felt had let them down (see infographic below).

Consistent off and online service

Adam Cooke, creator of Sirportly, said: “These numbers are staggering. Even if this is only half true, it is still a huge amount of money being lost by online businesses. The growth of online retail in the UK has brought with it opportunities and problems. Retailers need to treat online customers as well as they would do offline customers.”

Cooke added: “The challenge is that often online prices reduce margins and yet customer service can be time consuming and expensive to provide. Businesses that are able to adapt and offer outstanding service online, with great products and great prices are more likely to win and retain business.”

Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of Centre for Retail Research, said: “Although the typical online retailer commits most attention to the look and usability of the company's website, what the consumer is left with once the transaction is completed is the quality and attentiveness of customer service.

“Retailers need to invest as much time and money in involving customers and dealing promptly with any issues as they do in attracting them in the first place. If they fail in customer service many of those customers will never come back.”


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