Online Retailers Have the Most to Lose If They Fail to Plan Ahead

  • by December 20, 2000
Over half of all consumers expect retailers to respond to email inquiries within six hours, but only 29% of online retailers actually meet those expectations, according to Jupiter Research.

Delivery issues are the primary reason (53%) customers contact online merchants, according to Jupiter. Online retailers did not set a good customer service precedent last year, leaving over 60% of all consumers that shopped online last holiday disappointed with the level of service they received.

Online merchants' failure to understand their own customer service limitations can have potentially serious negative effects, according to Jupiter analysts. Jupiter found that one-third of all online consumers who ordered out-of-stock merchandise were never notified of a delivery date, despite potential FTC imposed fines for failure to notify consumers of merchandise delivery dates.

Online retailers face potentially exorbitant phone center costs as nearly half of all online consumers say they would place a call to online merchants who do not respond to first-time email inquiries, according to Jupiter's Consumer Survey.

"Online merchants who try to save on customer service will pay more in the end and not just in a tarnished reputation," says David Daniels, (Analyst), Jupiter Research.

"High consumer expectations combined with competitive and marketplace pressures means online retailers need to take customer service more seriously than ever. Online retailers must think beyond the experimental phase, and learn from previous mistakes. This is truly the Darwinian year for commerce sites."

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