Tealeaf: Consumers Frustrated With e-Commerce Problems
The results of a newly released survey reveal waves of consumer frustration with e-commerce Web sites.
For the third year in the row, the survey -- conducted by Harris Interactive for San Francisco-based customer experience management software solutions provider Tealeaf Technology Inc. -- showed that almost nine out of 10 consumers conducting transactions online (87 percent) have experienced problems.
This year's survey highlights online consumer intolerance, as 42 percent of those surveyed who have experienced problems when conducting online transactions have switched to a competitor or abandoned the transaction entirely, and another 52 percent who have experienced bad customer service from a company's contact center following an online issue have stopped doing business with the company completely.
"We're in a 'perfect storm' as users' dependency on e-commerce grows and their patience for bad online experiences wears thin," Tealeaf CEO Rebecca Ward said in a statement. "More than a decade into e-commerce, we're increasingly savvy online consumers and we're no longer willing to put up with experiences that do not live up to our expectations.
"Companies doing business online must pay attention to their customers' experiences and help them to succeed, or risk losing them entirely," she was quoted as saying. "The only way to understand issues, improve conversion rates and better serve customers is to have visibility into everything that happens on your online channel."
As problems persist, consumer backlash is permeating the online experience. A lowered cost of switching online merchants -- alternate providers are just a click away -- has radically changed shopping behavior. Often, companies are subjected to drastic consequences when they fail to deliver, as illustrated by the 42 percent of online consumers who abandoned a company or switched to a competitor after experiencing transaction issues.
Failed transactions have a significant impact even on those consumers who do not immediately give up. According to the survey, 53 percent of online users with issues would contact customer service. Of those, almost half (49 percent) did not have their issues resolved. In fact, 68 percent of consumers did not feel that the service agent was knowledgeable about the Web site, and 70 percent did not believe the agent understood their particular issue.
About half of those consumers who experienced bad customer service from a company's contact center (52 percent) stopped doing business with the company entirely, and a full 76 percent either stopped doing business entirely, decreased the amount of business they do with the company or lodged a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
Harris Interactive fielded the online survey on behalf of Tealeaf from Aug. 13 to Aug. 21 among nationwide cross-sections of 2,420 adults aged 18 or older in the United States who are online.