Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/07/13/business_email_survey/

British customers miffed at email response times

Nine out of ten driven to defect

By Emmet Ryan

Posted in Business, 13th July 2007 09:13 GMT

British consumers are unhappy with the time it takes for email queries to be answered, according to a new report.

The study, by hosting firm Fasthosts Internet, showed that 78 per cent of British consumers have been disappointed by a slow response to a customer service email enquiry, with the average consumer sending three emails before receiving a satisfactory response.

The survey also found that a third of British consumers have sent more than 10 emails about a single customer service enquiry, and nearly 60 per cent of those email enquiries don't receive a reply within the first 24 hours.

The study of 1,300 UK consumers showed that 89 per cent of this group has been led to defect to a competitor brand as a result.

According to the survey, the average consumer was only willing to wait 24 hours for a reply, with 19 per cent giving up after waiting 12 hours. Women are more patient than men, according to the study, with 12 per cent of females prepared to wait up to a week for a reply, compared to only seven per cent of men who are happy to wait that long. The survey found that women are more likely to use alternative means, such as telephone calls, to follow up on their queries.

"British businesses really need to sit up and pay attention to their response rate for customer emails, or risk losing their customer base to competitor brands. The public suffers real stress from slow or sub-standard email replies so it is no surprise they feel so strongly about the issue," said Mark Jeffries, chief technical officer of Fasthosts Internet.

© 2007 ENN