Customers shortchanged by US corporate Web sites

Only six of the largest 100 companies in the US achieved "excellent" ratings for online customer service, according to the 2005 Online Customer Respect Study from The Customer Respect Group.

Those companies, in order, are Hewlett-Packard Co., Medco Health Solutions, Sprint, Intel, American Express Co. and United Parcel Service. Another 29 companies received "good" ratings, while 65 companies got failing grades, according to the survey.

The average customer respect index last year was 6.2 (out of a possible 10), while the most recent study showed an overall improvement across all industries, with the average score rising to 6.5.

"In general terms, things show a modest improvement year to year -- the overall average score went up just a tad," said Terry Golesworthy, president of The Customer Respect Group.

That's largely because of efforts by companies in the top 25, which improved quite a lot over their scores in 2004. Many companies at the bottom of the group's rankings did not improve at all -- or in some ways got worse. "Thus, the gap between the most and least respectful companies is widening," Golesworthy said.

The highest-rated companies improved in terms of transparency, particularly when it comes to publicly detailing their privacy policies to their online visitors, he said.

"We saw a lot of companies in the 'excellent' categories that improved in the area of data privacy, and there was also an increase in the number of companies that have chosen not to share data with outside organizations," Golesworthy said.

While responsiveness to customers improved overall, it remained the lowest-scoring area for many companies, yielding an overall score of just 5.3 out of 10. Some 28 of the top 100 US companies were rated "very poor" in their handling of online inquiries, according to the survey.

Overall, 15% of online inquiries sent were ignored, the survey showed. Although that's better than last year, all of that improvement can be traced to the top quarter of companies whose responsiveness was measured, The Customer Respect Group said.

While 58% of all e-mails were responded to within a day -- a time frame customers considered acceptable -- only half of the responses were helpful, according to the survey.

"Customer respect, or lack of, is a significant factor that influences online behavior," Golesworthy said in a statement. "It's no surprise that companies that do more business via the Internet are doing better. Simply put, they get it. No organization, however, can ignore the online customer, regardless of what percentage of its sales are derived from the Internet."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Linda Rosencrance

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?