Major Corporations Not Handling E-Customer Relations Well

An eGain study finds that nearly one-half of the companies in the US and Canada are failing to capture critical online revenue opportunities.

August 31, 2004 – Amazingly � at a time when corporations are spending more than ever to develop their online channels � BenchmarkPortal, in a benchmark study conducted for eGain Communications, found that 41% of even the largest companies in the US and Canada are not responding to e-mails with high-value purchase intent.

The study polled 300 US and Canadian companies with over $250 million in annual revenues, including corporations across retail, travel and hospitality, financial services, e-business, telecom, and high-tech/consumer electronics manufacturing sectors. Posing as customers, survey researchers made targeted e-mail inquiries that demonstrated a clear intent to buy a high-value product or service.

Over 100 companies made no response whatsoever.

Across key industries, the researchers found:

  • 41% of the companies did not respond
  • 39% of the overall sample sent an answer within 24 hours
  • Only 15% of companies sent any form of acknowledgement, a very simple tool used to set customer expectations and maintain interest
  • Only 17% of the companies in the overall sample responded with an accurate and complete answer
    6% did not even offer e-mail contact

Obviously, someone is not minding the e-store, and the companies are missing out on millions of dollars in potential revenue opportunities.

“As customers increasingly turn to the Web to conduct business, companies cannot afford to drop the ball on e-service,” says Ashu Roy, CEO of eGain.

Comparing category-to-category performances, retail came out on top. The sector performed the best in responsiveness with 53% of retail companies answering e-mails within 24 hours, and 35% of the companies provided an accurate and complete answer.

On the other hand, the financial services and telecom companies were the least responsive categories, with 59% and 40% of the companies in the respetive industries not sending any response at all.

Surprisingly, only 40% of online-only businesses, a category that includes online recruiters and shopping comparison sites, replied to customer e-mail inquiries. “One would think that e-businesses would have a high-quality e-mail customer service,” Anand Subramaniam, Vice President of Marketing for eGain told Internet Retailer.

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