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Online shoppers say they want retailers to handle complaints online

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Nearly half of UK consumers (47%) wish to handle complaints to a retailer directly through its website, according to the Customer Care For Online Business Survey, commissioned by 1&1 Internet.

The representative survey of 1,600 UK consumers concluded that consumers who opt for ecommerce are nowadays keen to sort after-sales issues online. This is in stark contrast to a further survey of 405 British companies that finds that only 17% of businesses currently recognise the need for such facilities.

The study also found that 45% per cent of Britons actively seek retailers with online feedback facilities on their website as part of their buying decision.

Interestingly, the desire to resolve complaints online increases with age, the survey found, with 52% of over 55 year olds wishing to leverage this as compared to only 42% of 16-24 year olds. The preference to communicate with businesses online also varies with gender. Over half of men (52%) are keen on using online methods to resolve a complaint compared to only 43% of women.

On the other hand, the second survey of 405 UK companies found widespread apathy on the issue of online customer care and complaints handling. The vast majority of businesses (83%) said they believe there to be no demand for a facility to submit a complaint directly from their website. And 36% believe there could be no benefit at all from adding facilities for web-based communication such as customer live-chat, feedback forms or customer rating tools onto their website.

“As more of us choose to make purchases online, there will be increased demand for online based after-sales functions such as complaints handling,” says Oliver Mauss, CEO at 1&1 Internet. “Britons clearly value the speed and convenience of internet-based options”.

He added, “Having leveraged the internet to win a customer, businesses have much to gain from taking simple steps to maintain that connection. In a challenging economy, enterprises that can resolve customer care issues swiftly online are likely to receive increased customer loyalty and spend”.

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