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Utility, telco and property providers in serious customer service decline

26th Oct 2010
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Service providers in the telecoms, utilities and property markets are getting worse at online customer service due to poor integration with other support activities, according to new research.

A study undertaken by eDigitalResearch of the websites of 21 leading UK organisations found that more than half scored below 50% for email customer service, which was rated as ‘very poor’. The top performers in each category were British Gas, O2 and Hamptons, which came top for relevance and responding to queries within 24 hours.

Derek Eccleston, eDigitalResearch’s research director, said: "Customer expectations are growing all the time and in the highly commoditised sector of home services, where the ubiquity of customer reviews greatly influences per-purchasing behaviour, it is really easy for customers to switch to a competitor and tell others to do the same if they have received poor customer care."

In terms of the entire online customer experience from clicking on a home page to undertaking product search, using the account area and making enquiries of the customer service function, overall home pages were found to be cluttered and uninspiring.

The most effective element of sites was, in general terms, the accounts pages, where more than half of sites provided personalised content. The top performers also balanced interactive functionality with fast page loads, clearly marked menus and tabs for easy navigation as well as swift customer service support. Another positive characteristic was consistency of experience.

Ecclestone said: "Consistency is key as ensuring that customers have a seamless experience across the multiple touch points will increase loyalty. It is clear from this study that home services businesses need to back up the intuitiveness and usability of their websites with efficient and responsive customer service. Otherwise customers will look for better service as well as better deals elsewhere."



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