Updated · May 22, 2001
Good customer service doesn’t stop with e-tailers – according to Jupiter Media Metrix building customer confidence is just as important when it comes to business-to-business.
A recent study by Jupiter revealed that poor customer service presents a serious threat to e-commerce. The study made known that B2B customers aren’t happy with the expediency of online channels. B2B sites, cites the report, are sluggish when it comes to processing inquiries – moreover customers who expect rapid responses to their e-mail inquiries are frequently disappointed.
Jupiter analyst David Daniels noted that the average customer who lodges an e-mail inquiry expects a response within 6 hours. As far as B2B sites are concerned, Jupiter found that although 41 percent responded to inquiries within six hours, only half of those answers proved satisfactory. A hearty 29 percent of sites never bothered responding at all.
"Sluggish e-mail answers will further lower confidence in e-mail as a customer service channel," noted Daniels. "Businesses must realize that e-mail responsiveness forms perceptions of how committed a business is to customer service, which can be the distinguishing characteristic of how a buyer selects a supplier."
Jupiter also noted that nearly half of all potential B2B buyers remain doubtful that online channels are able to speedily deliver crucial goods and services – hence they shy away from purchasing over the Net.
Of all the available B2B sites, only 4 percent offer interactive chat options (such as instant messaging). Options such as these, asserts Jupiter, would to wonders for increasing customer confidence.
Furthermore, the closest most sites come to search engines (which enable customers to find what they want quickly) are lengthy and stagnant lists of ‘frequently asked questions’. "70 percent of Web users will leave a site for good if they cannot find the information they want," stated Daniels.
"Slow and non-responsive B2B purveyors are further eroding the opportunity to build trust in online relationships … customer confidence is crucial to the growth of e-commerce," he concluded.
Reprinted from sa.internet.com.