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Wake up call for online business

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Can you imagine going into a store and carefully selecting your purchases, then walking up to the checkout counter only to have the sales clerk tell you to start over again? You wouldn’t stand for it.

But in the online world, it happens all the time. And it’s annoying.

A recent Harris Interactive Survey found that a large percentage of people who do business via the Internet have a less than favorable experience. These frustrated consumers say they are unwilling to put up with e-commerce that fails to live up to their expectations.

The survey of 2,420 adults was commissioned by Tealeaf Technology, which sells software that lets companies see how users are interacting with their site. The results should be a wake-up call to business. They show that poor customer service will not only hurt sales, it could also permanently cost them customers.

Web-based businesses need to realize the importance of the online experience, said Tealeaf CEO Rebecca Ward. “There’s a big disconnect between what consumers expect and what businesses are providing,” she said. According to the survey, 83 percent of the people surveyed expect the offline and online experience to be the same. But most companies don’t deliver.

The Tealeaf survey found that 87 percent of the people who do business online have some sort of problem. They have trouble logging in, difficulty navigating the site, receive error messages, get kicked off the page, or get caught in endless loops.

Full story...
by Herb Weisbaum
MSNBC contributor
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