Online car buying service OneSwoop.com maintains that it is has not suffered any loss of customer loyalty despite the fact that the site was unable to cope with the level of demand during the first weeks of trading.
OneSwoop lets customers buy their preferred car from a virtual showroom, taking care of delivery, registration and importing. The site began trading on 1 March but customers found they were unable to access the site as the company had dramatically underestimated demand.
Suki Kalirai, chief operating officer of OneSwoop, admitted: "The situation is irritating because we set out as a customer services company. I want to apologise to customers. We are providing a unique proposition and we want to serve people well, but in the early days we couldn't."
Kalirai refused to say how many people had accessed the site but claimed that it was hundreds of thousands. He estimated that the company had experienced more than double the anticipated hits from customers. Kalirai claimed that OneSwoop had doubled the capacity of its hardware as soon as the problems emerged, and that it was attempting to improve the hardware capabilities now.
"With the benefit of hindsight, we would have had more capacity to cope with the level of demand. The database has to cope with complex enquiries," said Kalirai.
He said that when customers experienced problems, they recognised the limitations of the internet and would revisit the site when it was working properly. "If a site doesn't work at one o'clock, users know to come back at four."
OneSwoop has posted up a letter from Roeland van de Ven, founder and chief executive, warning customers that an unprecedented demand for the service may affect the operation of the site.
Kalirai insisted that online customers who visit the site during offpeak hours should not experience as many problems as onpeak customers. He also conceded that there was a problem with some of the gateways to its service providers, such as the payment of the search fee.
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