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Online retailers have a way to go to match their high street counterparts when it comes to customer service, writes Steve Hill.

Online retailers have a way to go to match their high street counterparts when it comes to customer service, according to Accenture.

Only 37% of consumers surveyed were generally satisfied with etailers' customer service.

ISPs fared slightly better, with a 56% satisfaction rating. Despite this, both ecommerce sites and ISPs have a long way to go to match the 85% satisfaction rating enjoyed by traditional high street stores.

The older generation are less satisfied with etailers than younger people - just 26% of those over 45 are happy with their service. They are also more likely to use a company where they can interact with a real person, rather than use a Web site.

Despite this dissatisfaction, only 12% would be prepared to pay more for better customer service from etailers, compared with 22% for high street shops. This suggests that pricing is more important online than it is on the high street.

The report concluded that quality of customer service is crucial in securing customer loyalty and that companies should provide better targeted, personalised services.

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Published 2 September, 2004 by NMA Staff

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