Almost nine out of ten British web shoppers experience difficulties when purchasing online, while etailers compound these problems with poor customer service, according to a new survey.

The survey of 2,118 UK adults, conducted by Harris Interactive for Tealeaf, found that many (37%) customers were likely to abandon transactions if they experienced problems.

Other highlights from the survey:

Customer service

  • Customer service is clealy an area for improvement - 43% of adults who have transaction problems contact customer service centres but only 47% had their issues resolved.
  • Of those that experienced poor customer service 40% would not buy anything from the company again.
  • 88%  were not prepared to accept lower levels of customer service online than they would receive offline.

Security issues

  • Transaction problems are likely to dent consumer confidence in the security of the e-commerce sites.
  • 32% of respondents felt that security was a big concern for them, and 40% of those who have encountered problems said that this would make them question the company's ability to keep their information secure.

Tealeaf conducted the same survey on US web users in September, and the results are broadly similar, with nine out of ten US consumers experiencing transaction problems.

US web users seem to be less tolerant than their UK counterparts though - 52% would stop shopping with an etailer after experiencing problems, compared with 40% of UK users.

Related stories:
Why do customers abandon the checkout process?

Related research:
Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks

Graham Charlton

Published 7 November, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (1)


Jason Goodwin, SAS UK

The results of Tealeaf’s survey illustrate just how much consumer needs have changed since the rise in internet shopping and web usage, leaving some organisations lagging behind in terms of customer service. Consumers are in a very powerful position and if they don’t have a positive experience with an organsation, there are enough products and services out there for them to switch to.

So, what is stopping these businesses improving their customer satisfaction levels in both online and offline services?

The answer is multi channel insight. In order to fully understand customer needs and buying behaviours today, businesses need to be collating customer information across all touchpoints (on and offline) to build single and holistic profiles of individuals. Consumers are tired of standardised services and these results indicate that there is high demand for a more personalised approach. As shoppers become more sophisticated so should the marketing strategies of organisations, which evidently need richer understanding of customers as individuals. Investment in advanced analytics should be high on the agenda of CIO’s/CMO’s today in order to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

over 10 years ago

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