Thursday, 2 June 2011

UK businesses lose £14bn every year due to poor online customer experiences

A survey commissioned by Tealeaf, a top producer and developer of online customer experience management (CEM) software, and conducted for them by Econsultancy, shows the shocking fact that businesses in the UK are losing the equivalent of some 24% of their entire annual online revenue due to poor online customer experiences. This equates to £14bn alone in the past year amongst online retailers . This is despite 84% stating that selling more products or services is a key objective for the business. (EDITOR: That's nearly one whole quarter!)

The full findings of the survey of almost 500 global senior business professionals are available in a report released yesterday, entitled Reducing Customer Struggle.

It actually makes pretty grim reading. It points out that nearly one fifth (18%) of businesses rate their understanding of the online customer experience as “poor‟ or “very poor‟, with only 4% classifying it as “excellent‟.

This lack of understanding seems to centre on the bottom of the sales funnel with the majority of companies saying they have “limited” or “no understanding” of why customers abandon a shopping cart (78%) or leave a site without converting (81%). Instead, most are reactive and rely on other channels to discover customer issues, with 76% most likely to learn about site problems as a result of calls to the customer service team or through customer emails.

Steve Robinson, CEO at believes understanding online customer experience should be a key focus for all businesses. “As consumers continue to flock to the web, ebusinesses need to dramatically improve the experience they receive through greater actionable insights. Failure to do so will render companies powerless in making informed site developments, which could reduce their competitive advantage as a result.”

Linking online and offline channels and sharing insights between them is also a major challenge for businesses with only 3% describing the multichannel experience they provide as “excellent”. Just under a quarter (24%) rate it as “poor” or “very poor” and only about a half (49%) have processes in place to prioritise and rectify the problems and issues customers face online.

Respondents estimate that 15% of total inbound calls relate to website problems but, despite this, 68% fail to give call centre agents access to information about the online experience of individual customers. Although the majority of companies (86%) say their call centre staff are able to route website issues to the right people in the business, only a third (36%) measure the extent to which these problems are then resolved.

“This research demonstrates a clear link between online customer experience and revenue generation,” said Geoff Galat, CMO of Tealeaf. “Ebusinesses have much to gain from better online visibility, particularly at the bottom of the sales funnel, where conversion rates should be highest. A poor online user experience, coupled with a lack of visibility and understanding, translates into a significant amount of lost revenue as well as added costs due to increased inbound enquiries.”

“The web lies at the heart of any multichannel business these days and so providing visibility across all business units will ensure a seamless experience at all brand touchpoints,” said Ashley Friedlein, CEO at Econsultancy. “As the online channel becomes increasingly valuable for business, it is vital for companies to ensure the customer journey is as pain-free and seamless as possible. Companies that fail to put in place the technology and processes necessary to improve online experiences will miss out on this growing financial potential.”

You can find the results of the survey here:-

(EDITOR: However, how many people have abandoned a trip to a real rather than a virtual store due to poor customer service? Quite a lot. The same as those who abandon an online shopping trip? It would be interesting for someone to conduct a survey in to this.)

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