Europe's ebusinesses are clueless as to whether their customers' online transactions are successful or not, leaving users out in the cold when a problem occurs, research has revealed.
A study carried out by Aspect Consulting and commissioned by fail-over software developer Rainfinity, found that of the 100 organisations surveyed, a majority were putting too much focus on getting customers onto a site but not putting enough effort into keeping them there.
Only 53 per cent of European ebusinesses attempted to monitor the end-to-end success or failure of online transactions. And 60 per cent of these rely on the customer themselves to alert the firm to a failure.
But this is where the problems start, as a majority of disgruntled users will simply move onto the next vendor - 42 per cent never return to a site where a transaction has been unsuccessful.
Rainfinity claims that this is because over three quarters of ebusinesses do not have a system that allows them to manage a transaction that fails, leaving the customer in the dark and inadvertently prompting them to move to a competitor.
Furthermore, 63 per cent of ebusinesses are unable to measure the cost of online failures in terms of revenue, customer loyalty and brand reputation.
But Colin Rowland, European vice president of Rainfinity, claims that boosting customer retention by five per cent can improve profits by 25 per cent plus.
"While customers are prepared to accept the fact that online transactions may fail, they will keep jumping to competitor sites unless organisations can find a way of communicating with them and solving the problem," he said.
An accompanying study by analyst McKinsey & Co concluded that the real cost to a business is not the value of an isolated lost transaction, but the future spending potential of the frustrated online customer that moves to a competitor.
"This research shows that organisations are looking at their ebusiness strategies from the wrong perspective," said Rowland. "Too much emphasis is being placed on developing the system itself and not enough on the revenue, loyalty and brand implications of a poor online customer experience."
The report concluded that over 50 per cent of online transactions in European ebusiness are sales related. And with internet downtime becoming more inevitable, organisations will suffer unless they start waking up to the potential impact of that downtime on their online revenue stream.
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