Web fails at Customer service

Transversal's annual online customer service analysis of 100 leading websites in the retail, telecoms, utility, banking, travel and consumer electronics sectors found that 69 per cent could answer fewer than four of the ten most often asked customer questions.

· Supermarkets came out on top - but even they could only answer an average of 50% of questions online.

· Insurance and travel companies websites proved to be the least customer friendly and languished behind the other nine sectors with a paltry average of one out of ten questions answered.

· In terms of answering email queries, utility companies had by far and away the worst response times with the average customer waiting over 4 days (102 hours) for a response from their provider!

· Compared to research carried out in 2005, this shows that online customer service in 2006 got worse, despite the massive growth in the market.

· More and more information is stored on sites, but finding the correct piece quickly is difficult - you shouldn't have to second guess the website to find it.

· Organisations using intelligent self-service solutions to answer customers' questions on their website are experiencing rapid customer adoption. Barclays Bank saw a 75% increase in customers using its natural language 'Ask A Question' feature, from 350,000 customers in 2005 to nearly 1 million customers and 2million questions answered in 2006.

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