Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Survey Highlights Importance of Online Customer Experience

Tealeaf, a provider of online Customer Experience Management software (CEM), announced the results of the 5th annual survey of online consumer behavior, commissioned by Tealeaf and conducted by Harris Interactive. The survey found that 48% of U.S. online adults say that they are now conducting more online transactions than they did in the past given the current economic climate. However, 80% of adults who have conducted an online transaction in the past year experience problems when doing so in 2009.

This improvement over prior years may be attributed to a growing business focus on delivering better online customer experiences. While this reported decline in online transaction issues is good news, online customer experience is still very much a work in progress. The percentage of consumers affected by issues such as error messages (38%), endless loops (19%) and login problems (28%) is still extremely high. Further, the resulting business impact is significant, as 32% of those who experience issues when conducting transactions online would simply take their business elsewhere (to either an online or offline competitor) or abandon the transaction entirely.

The survey results also show that online adults are increasingly turning to social media to share their online experiences with others, while simultaneously becoming less likely to alert a company directly – a shift in consumer behavior which extends the business impact of customer experience issues beyond any single transaction.

The number of consumers who contact a company directly in response to online transaction issues declined:

- 26% of online adults who experience problems conducting online transactions then posted complaints on a company's Website in 2009, versus 32% in 2008.

- 38% of all online adults contacted a company's call center after encountering problems using the Website in 2009, versus 47% in 2008.

Meanwhile, 12% of online adults who encountered issues said they shared those experiences via blogs or social networks, twice as many as in 2008.3

Further, the survey reveals that these shared experiences are highly influential and should therefore be a real business concern. More than half (54%) of all online adults said social media content has influenced their online transactions, with 82% of those reporting that social media has influenced their choice of vendor.

Interestingly, the survey also found that online adults whose transactions have been influenced by social media content actually respond to positive reviews (26%) more so than negative ones (21%), so good online transaction experiences are amplified online just as much, if not more, than bad.

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