Major UK firms take an average of 46 hours to respond to customers’ emails, according to a new study that shows pretty mixed levels of customer service online.

What’s more, that’s 13 hours more than the average last year.   

The research, by Transversal, looked at the different customer service channels of 100 major UK firms’ sites, including FAQs sections, email and contact centres.

It found that:

  • Websites, on average, could only provide answers for 50% of common customer queries.
  • Telecoms, insurance, travel, electronics, grocers and utility performed worst - all were unable to answer 60% of consumer queries online.
  • Grocery and electronics retailers slipped since last year’s study, with average correct responses to emails falling from 80% to 55% and 90% to 55% respectively.
  • Contact centres performed better, with 67% of calls answered within three minutes.
  • As with last year’s study, telecoms firms were among the worst performers - giving accurate reponses to emails just 25% of the time, and failing to answer 60% of questions on their websites.  
  • Travel websites have performed badly in the last two surveys. They fail to answer 60% of common questions and had an average email response time of 58 hours.

Related stories:

Firms could improve customer self-service

10 tips on improving online customer service

Related research:

Online Customer Service Solutions Buyer’s Guide 2007