Nearly nine out of 10 UK consumers who have conducted online transactions in the past year have experienced problems, according to new research.
Some 88 per cent of web shoppers said they were not willing to accept lower levels of customer service online than they would receive in person, a survey conducted by customer experience management software provider Tealeaf claimed.
And 37 per cent of those who have experienced problems when conducting an online transaction in the past 12 months said that they would abandon the transaction entirely if they experienced a problem.
The research goes on to claim that consumer intolerance of a bad online experience is exacerbated by poor customer support from contact centres when people seek to rectify the problem.
Although only 43 per cent of adults who experience transaction problems contact customer service centres, fewer than half of those that did felt that this resolved the issue.
Ultimately, 40 per cent of online shoppers who experienced bad customer service from a company's contact centre following an online issue stopped doing business with the company altogether.
"After a decade of e-commerce, British consumers have very high expectations of their online experiences," said Rebecca Ward, chief executive at Tealeaf.
"Yet many companies doing business online are still failing to deliver an acceptable level of customer experience and service to internet customers.
"Online businesses must pay attention to their customers' experiences and help them to succeed, or risk losing them and their business entirely.
"The only way to understand and pinpoint problems, improve conversion rates and better serve customers is to have visibility into everything that happens on your online channel."
Privacy is also a major concern for those conducting online transactions. Roughly a third of those surveyed indicated that website security is the most critical factor of a positive customer experience.
This is compounded by the fact that 40 per cent said that if they experienced problems when conducting an online transaction they are 'likely' or 'very likely' to question a company's ability to keep their private information secure.
"The lack of face-to-face contact is an obvious disadvantage online, but customers must feel as though they are valued and that their issues are understood, processed and, ultimately, solved," added Ward.
"Businesses need to pay the same consideration to the experience of every online customer, just as they would in a physical shop or via a call centre, and to achieve this they require a clear picture of where their websites work and where they fall short.
"Only then will they be able to take steps to improve the service they deliver to their online customers."
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