U.S. companies are failing at online customer service, forcing consumers to bypass email service for the telephone, according to a new study from Jupiter Research.
The study shows that 88% of consumers surveyed expect a response to email inquiries within 24 hours. The problem is that only 54% of companies meet that expectation — the same percentage as in 2001, despite an increase in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology spending.
Growth in CRM spending is expected to continue at a rapid rate at least through 2008, according to another Jupiter Research report.
”Companies that fail to get serious about their management of customer service email now, will pay the price with higher customer service costs and lost revenues down the line,” says David Daniels, a Jupiter Research senior analyst. ”This issue will be compounded as customer service email inquiries will rise from 1 billion in 2001 to 3.3 billion in 2008.”
Daniels adds that inadequate service through the online channel will only continue to drive consumers to turn back to their telephones. ”Companies without efficient management of their customer service emails are better off sending site visitors directly to their phone support center,” he says.
IT managers are increasingly turning to CRM technology, according to a Jupiter Market Forecast Report. CRM technology spending is expected to grow from $2.3 billion in 2003 to $4.7 billion in 2008. The report also notes that financial services companies are expected to continue to be the largest spenders on CRM, with their expenditures jumping from $3.4 billion in 2003 to $5.9 billion in 2008.