E-retail customer support is slipping

Summary:Customer support has replaced 'timely delivery' as the weak link in Australian e-tailing.

Customer support has replaced timely delivery as the weak link in Australian e-tailing, according to analyst firm GlobalReviews.

The Melbourne firm said more than one-third of e-tailers analysed in an industry study completely ignored customer queries sent via email or took more than one week to respond.

Most of the remaining two-thirds took between 12 and 24 hours to reply, the firm said.

Worse still, one-third of the country’s e-tailers failed to address at least one question contained in email queries responded to.

Ironically for the dotcom shopping world, the analyst firm rated the telephone as a more reliable mode of lodging queries, with customers typically waiting less than five minutes to have questions answered over the phone. However, e-tailers left little incentive for customers to lodge queries over the phone because they seldom offered toll free support numbers and often operated interstate, the firm complained.

GlobalReviews says it analysed the performance of more than 40 Australian e-tailers over the Christmas 2000 period.

The firm said all e-tailers it studied delivered Christmas gifts before December 25. It attributed this upswing in delivery performance to a more “conservative” approach to fulfilment promises.

The firm said promises of delivery times as narrow as two hours from ordering time only alienated the Internet from shoppers if those claims could not be backed.

“It is better to make one’s delivery limitations clear than to promise the world and fail to deliver,” a company statement read.

By broadening delivery-time promises to as long as two days etailers were able to deliver as promised, and stood to cut around 90 percent off delivery costs, the firm said.

Topics: Tech Industry

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