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Your Website Better Be Tha Shiznit

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-11-16

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Online shoppers have no sympathy for crappy web design and if the utility of your website doesn't impress, they ain't stickin' around and they ain't comin' back. A new survey released Monday suggests than 89% of online shoppers have experienced problems making online transactions. One-third said problematic websites turn their coveted eyeballs to competitors.

The survey, commissioned by TeaLeaf and conducted by Harris Interactive, revealed that the vast majority (82%) are unwilling to accept a lower level of customer service when comparing online and offline transactions. Thirty-four percent said they'd turn to a competitor, either online (27%) or offline (14%), if they experienced a problem while conducting an online transaction.

Problematic transactions most commonly experienced include: error messages (40%); a poorly navigable website (37%); the inability to complete a transaction due to an endless loop (31%); and difficulty logging onto the website (31%).

Only 3% of online consumers said webpage download speed had an impact on their online experience.

Some companies depend on customer feedback to alert them to problems. However, most customers, once peeved, are gone without a word.

"Today, even the most sophisticated companies are forced to depend on their customers to report online failures versus proactively identifying issues impacting their customers. This can lead to unidentified problems that negatively impact business results," said Rebecca Ward, chairman and CEO, TeaLeaf.

Though a small percentage cited webpage download speed as a negative factor, Future Now, Inc.'s cofounder Bryan Eisenberg says any flaw could cost online companies.

"Any flaw in your website, from a transaction failure to a link that doesn't deliver on its promise, costs your business. It reduces your ROI, damages customer loyalty and undermines the brand experience," said Eisenberg.

Forty-nine percent of those who have conducted insurance-related business online, 41% of shoppers, 42% of travelers, and 41% of those who have conducted financial transactions received error messages.

"As e-business revenues become an increasingly significant portion of a company's overall revenue stream, executives need to ensure that the online experience is positive each and every time," said Keith Kelly, vice president of web technology at Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

"Online consumers are not very forgiving and the stakes are high for e-businesses that don't deliver."

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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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