British firms slow to answer customer emailsEight out of ten people unhappy at response times

16 July 2007

 

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Nearly 80 per cent of British consumers are unhappy about the time it takes businesses to respond to their customer service emails, a new poll has found.

The survey by hosting firm Fasthosts Internet also found that 89 per cent of those have subsequently defected to a rival brand as a result of the tardy response.

The survey of 1,300 people found that 30 per cent of consumers said they have regularly waited three days for a reply, 9 per cent have waited up to a week and 2  per cent said it can regularly take up to a month.

Half of those surveyed said they send three emails before receiving a satisfactory reply to their enquiry, while a third said they have sent up to 10 emails about a single enquiry.

Unprofessional replies

The survey also found that:

  • 64 per cent had waited too long for a useful reply or received automated replies that didn't answer questions
  • 35 per cent had encountered online customer service forms with insufficient space to type their request
  • 31 per cent were regularly annoyed by the unprofessional style of responses that they receive
  • 95 per cent said their view of a business was negatively affected by slow responses to customer service emails.

Mark Jeffries of Fasthosts Internet said, ‘British businesses really need to sit up and pay attention to their response rate for customer emails, or risk losing their customer base to competitor brands.

‘The public suffers real stress from slow or sub-standard email replies so it is no surprise they feel so strongly about the issue.’