Some 57% of UK companies offer little or no web self-service for their customers, potentially resulting in loss of revenue for etailers, according to research.

eGain assessed the web self-service functions of 125 major companies in the UK across a range of sectors. Only 17% of companies were found to be offering acceptable customer service solutions.

The websites of these companies were tested for the quality of FAQ sections, search, ease of finding information, ease of escalation to customer service representatives, and speed of response to queries.

The results suggested that most companies have much to improve on:

  • 29% of those studied offer very basic web self-service facilities -  static FAQs, which lead customers to either abandon the website or resort to calling the company
  • Only 3% offered what eGain calls ‘visionary’ web self-service
  • 6% of companies did not offer email escalation from self-service, and only 18%  acknowledged the receipt of a customer email, sent as a result of an escalation
  • The telecoms sector performed best, with 15% achieving the highest levels of service, while 70% of local government websites rated below average

A survey back in October by customer service provider Transversal found similar levels of poor online customer service, with customers waiting 2-3 days for a response to emails. Telecoms companies came off worst in that survey.

More recent research by Transversal has shown that the demand for web self service is growing, with the amount of customers turning to this channel for faster responses to queries having risen by 224% from 2004 to 2006.

Related E-consultancy research:

Online Customer Service Solutions – A Buyer’s Guide (2007 update due soon)
Online Customer Service – Roundtable Briefing