Consumers unhappy with e-commerce experiences

Customer service centers take a blow in Harris survey

Despite the growth of e-commerce, consumers are still unhappy with their online experiences, with nearly nine out of 10 saying they have had problems conducting transactions online, according to a new survey.

The Harris Interactive survey also found that 42 percent of consumers who have problems during transactions end up abandoning them or taking their business to another online company.

Customer service centers also took a blow: 76 percent of users who said they had had a bad customer service experience stopped doing business with the company, cut the amount of business they do with the company or complained to the Better Business Bureau.

The survey also found that 49 percent of consumers who contacted customer service said their issue was never resolved; 68 percent said they didn't feel that the customer service agent knew anything about the Web site; and 70 percent said the customer service agent didn't understand the issue, according to the survey.

The Harris survey polled 2,430 U.S. consumers age 18 and over, between Aug. 13 and Aug. 21. The survey was commissioned by Tealeaf Technology, a customer experience management software company based in San Francisco.

The main problems consumers said they have experienced with retail, banking, travel and insurance Web sites include the following:

  • Received error messages (34 percent).
  • Problems navigating the site (37 percent).
  • Problems logging into the site (30 percent).
  • Received insufficient, incorrect or confusing information (29 percent).
  • Endless loops that block transactions (22 percent).
  • A search function that didn't work right (21 percent).
  • Automatically booted off the page (20 percent).

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