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Computerworld

Customer service a must to retain online shoppers

January 20, 1999
Web posted at: 12:55 p.m. EST (1755 GMT)

by Sharon Machlis

(IDG) -- Fewer online shoppers are satisfied now than they were six months ago, according to a survey of 2,300 online households released Monday.

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Reasons for the decline? Respondents to the poll cited problems with merchandise availability (15%), shipping and handling costs (14%) and slow site performance (13%), the survey's authors, Jupiter Communications Inc. in New York and NFO Interactive in Greenwich, Conn., concluded.

Despite the drop in satisfaction levels, however, 74% of holiday-season online shoppers said they were satisfied with their experiences.

And 37% said they would spend more online next holiday season. Meanwhile, 58% said they'd spend the same amount, and 5% expect to trim their online spending.

Companies spending big bucks on marketing to lure new shoppers need to invest in customer service and technical improvements if they want to make that investment pay off by retaining those costly new shoppers, Jupiter concluded. "Online shoppers are now mass-market consumers [who] are far less forgiving of technical shortcomings than the early adopters," Jupiter noted.

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