Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Adine Deford, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff

Blog Feed Post

Retail customers facing email black hole this Christmas

Study uncovers growing chasm between best and worst online retail customer experience

Reading, 6 December 2012: In the run up to Christmas, UK retailers are frustrating shoppers with distinctly average customer service, according to a new study released today. Despite UK online Christmas sales expected to exceed £4.6 billion[1], top UK retailers are failing to answer questions asked online or sent via email, according to the 2012 Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study. The research found that just 48% of retailers could successfully answer basic questions sent via email, while websites could answer just over half (53%) of questions asked online.

The research, carried out by multi-channel customer interaction management software provider Eptica, evaluated 40 leading retailers, spanning the CD/books/DVD, consumer electronics, food and fashion sectors. They were tested on their ability to provide answers to 10 routine questions via the web as well as their speed and accuracy when responding to enquiries sent via email.

It was impossible to contact nearly a quarter (22%) of the companies in the study via email, as they either had removed the opportunity for non-customers to contact them through this channel or email addresses could not be easily found. This was a dramatic change since 2011, when 97.5% of retailers provided email contact details. And it also risks breaking the law - UK Distance Selling regulations state that online retailers must provide an email address on their sites[2].

Poor email performance continued when it came to response times. On average it took retailers 66 hours, 52 minutes to answer emails, a whole day (24 hours) longer than in 2011. One retailer took over 1 month to reply to an email - although another responded in just 19 minutes, delivering a real competitive advantage. Slow responses have a direct impact on Christmas shoppers, delaying purchases and potentially meaning presents will not be delivered on time.

There was a growing gap between best and worst when it came to online customer service. For example, fashion companies answered three quarters (75%) of questions asked on their websites, while CD/DVD/Booksellers and food retailers scored just 40%. Demonstrating the increasing chasm between companies, one food retailer scored 100%, answering all ten questions successfully - however three companies in the same sector scored just two out of ten.

"In such a competitive sector, a good Christmas can make the difference between survival or failure for hard-pressed retailers," said Dee Roche, VP, Global Marketing, Eptica. "Delivering a first class customer experience is central to winning and retaining sales, but our research found that while some retailers are excelling at service, many seem to be unable to provide answers to even the most basic of questions. It is particularly worrying to see that a rising number of retailers are making it more difficult for customers to contact them via email - not only does this potentially break the law, but it forces consumers to change channels and risks them going elsewhere."

Social media is now a growing channel for customer service - and retailers are embracing it fully. The study found that since 2011, social media use has increased dramatically - 90% of retailers now provide links to their Twitter accounts and 88% have Facebook pages (up from 58% on both networks in 2011). 8% of retailers link customer service to social media channels, allowing shoppers to ask questions of the wider community. This shows there is still room for improvement as retailers look to integrate social media into their wider customer service strategy.

Sector

2012 % answered online 2011 answered online
Fashion Retail75% 64%
Electronics Retail58% 54%
CD/DVD/Books40% 43%
Food retail40% 48%
Average53%52%

2012 Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study methodology
As part of the Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study 40 company websites across the CD/DVD/book retail, food retail, electronics retail and fashion retail sectors were evaluated in three areas in Q3 2012:

  1. For their ability to answer ten basic, sector-specific questions via their website. These included:
    - What is your last order date for guaranteed Christmas delivery?
    - Do you price match?
    - Can I order online and pick up instore?
    - Can I return duplicate presents?

  2. On the speed and accuracy of their response via their email channel

  3. How they integrated links to sites such as Facebook, Twitter and forums into their overall customer service strategy.

An infographic illustrating the results of the Eptica Customer Experience Study can be downloaded at http://www.eptica.com/IMG/jpg/RetailMultichannelExperience.jpg

As well as retailers, the Study surveyed websites across the insurance, travel, consumer electronics manufacturers, utilities, telecoms and banking sectors. The full 2012 Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study report can be downloaded from http://www.eptica.com/Customer-Experience-Study-2012.html

[1] Source: IMRG http://www.imrg.org/ImrgWebsite/User/Pages/Press%20Releases-IMRG.aspx?pageID=86&parentPageID=85&isHomePage=false&isDetailData=true&itemID=8493&specificPageType=5&pageTemplate=7
[2] Source Office of Fair Trading http://www.oft.gov.uk/business-advice/treating-customers-fairly/dshome/web-compliance-tips/

-ends-

About Eptica
Eptica is the leading European multilingual solution for Customer Interaction Management including Web Self-service, Social Customer Service, Email Management, Chat, Fax-Letter- SMS and Knowledge management for Customer Service. Available on premise or SaaS, Eptica software enables website and customer service channels to improve quality of service, resolve enquiries faster, reduce costs and maximize every sales opportunity. Today more than 370 customers, including some of the world's largest brands, in 15 countries, use Eptica solutions to deliver excellent customer service at much lower cost. Eptica's customers include: Dixons, Domestic & General, Haven Holidays, Republic, Panasonic, Virgin Holidays, Capita and Ageas Insurance Solutions.

Eptica is based in the UK, France, Spain and Singapore and operates worldwide through its network of partners. Eptica was awarded the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA in 2009 for the third consecutive year. The company's continuing innovation and strong performance resulted in Eptica's inclusion in Gartner's 2011 and 2010 Magic Quadrants for Web Customer Service.

For further information, please contact:
Measures Consulting
Chris Measures +44 (0) 7976 535147/[email protected]
Uday Radia +44 (0) 7940 584161/[email protected]

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By RealWire News Distribution

RealWire is a global news release distribution service specialising in the online media. The RealWire approach focuses on delivering relevant content to the receivers of our client's news releases. As we know that it is only through delivering relevance, that influence can ever be achieved.

Cloud Expo Latest Stories
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
14th International Cloud Expo, held on June 10–12, 2014 at the Javits Center in New York City, featured three content-packed days with a rich array of sessions about the business and technical value of cloud computing, Internet of Things, Big Data, and DevOps led by exceptional speakers from every sector of the IT ecosystem. The Cloud Expo series is the fastest-growing Enterprise IT event in the past 10 years, devoted to every aspect of delivering massively scalable enterprise IT as a service.
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore’s Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, to discuss how infrastructure teams should be aware of the capitalization and depreciation model of these expenses to fully understand when and where automation is critical.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Hinkle, Senior Director, Open Source Solutions at Citrix Systems Inc., will provide overview of the open source software that can be used to deploy and manage a cloud computing environment. He will include information on storage, networking(e.g., OpenDaylight) and compute virtualization (Xen, KVM, LXC) and the orchestration(Apache CloudStack, OpenStack) of the three to build their own cloud services. Speaker Bio: Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Source Solutions, at Citrix Systems Inc. He joined Citrix as a result of their July 2011 acquisition of Cloud.com where he was their Vice President of Community. He is currently responsible for Citrix open source efforts around the open source cloud computing platform, Apache CloudStack and the Xen Hypervisor. Previously he was the VP of Community at Zenoss Inc., a producer of the open source application, server, and network management software, where he grew the Zenoss Core project to over 10...
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise) cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. NuoDB is involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO at NuoDB, Inc., will discuss the experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based applications and content within their business models are reaping huge benefits by directly leveraging cloud-based mapping and analysis capabilities within their existing enterprise investments. The ArcGIS mapping platform includes cloud-based content management and information resources to more widely, efficiently, and affordably deliver real-time actionable information and analysis capabilities to your organization.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
The cloud is everywhere and growing, and with it SaaS has become an accepted means for software delivery. SaaS is more than just a technology, it is a thriving business model estimated to be worth around $53 billion dollars by 2015, according to IDC. The question is – how do you build and scale a profitable SaaS business model? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jason Cumberland, Vice President, SaaS Solutions at Dimension Data, will give the audience an understanding of common mistakes businesses make when transitioning to SaaS; how to avoid them; and how to build a profitable and scalable SaaS business.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia, the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between personal and professional social, mobile and cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing collaboration and infrastructure solutions to the cloud.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Enterprises require the performance, agility and on-demand access of the public cloud, and the management, security and compatibility of the private cloud. The solution? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist(global role) for VMware, will explore how to unlock the power of the hybrid cloud and the steps to get there. He'll discuss the challenges that conventional approaches to both public and private cloud computing, and outline the tough decisions that must be made to accelerate the journey to the hybrid cloud. As part of the transition, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model will enable enterprise IT to build services beyond their data center while owning what gets moved, when to move it, and for how long. IT can then move forward on what matters most to the organization that it supports – availability, agility and efficiency.