Consumers Remain Intolerant toward Ecommerce Site Failures

September 19, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Retail & E-Commerce

For the third consecutive year, about nine out of 10 consumers conducting transactions online (87%) say they have experienced problems – and 42% of those have switched to a competitor or abandoned the transaction entirely, according to a Tealeaf survey conducted by Harris Interactive.

Another 52% who have experienced bad customer service from a company’s contact center, following an online issue, have completely stopped doing business with the company, according to the findings.


As e-commerce continues to grow – Forrester Research estimates 2007 online retail sales at $157.4 billion and expects sales to reach $271.6 billion (or 9% of retail sales overall) by 2011 – so does the risk of leaving more money on the table.

“We’re in a ‘perfect storm’ as users’ dependency on ecommerce grows and their patience for bad online experiences wears thin,” said Rebecca Ward, CEO, Tealeaf. “More than a decade into ecommerce, we’re increasingly savvy online consumers, and we’re no longer willing to put up with experiences that do not live up to our expectations.”

Other findings from the study:

  • Failed transactions also have a significant impact on those consumers who do not immediately switch but still try to buy from a company after experiencing them, according to the study:
    • 53% of online users with issues would contact customer service.
    • Of those, almost half (49%) did not have their issue resolved, and of those:
      • 68% did not feel that the service agent was knowledgeable about the website.
      • 70% did not believe the agent understood their particular issue.
  • Bad customer service received from contact centers led to a second wave of abandonment, resulting in major business impacts:
    • About half (52%) of those who experienced bad customer service from a company’s contact center decided to stop doing business with the company entirely.
    • A full 76% stopped doing business entirely, decreased the amount of business they do with the company, or lodged a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

See also Retailer Daily’s account.

About the study: Harris Interactive fielded the online survey on behalf of Tealeaf Technology, between August 13 and August 21, 2007 among nationwide cross-sections of 2,420 adults age 18+ in the United States who are online. The data were weighted to be representative of the total online US adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, and race/ethnicity.


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