Survey: U.S. companies are losing 23% of online revenue to poor service

San Francisco -- Survey results released Tuesday by online customer experience management firm Tealeaf and conducted by Econsultancy showed that nearly 23% of online revenue is lost annually by U.S. companies due to poor online customer experiences.

According to the findings, 18% of companies rate their understanding of the overall online customer experience as “poor” and 55% believe bad navigation is both the most common and serious problem plaguing customers. Just 3% of the companies surveyed believe they offer customers an “excellent” multichannel experience.

The survey of nearly 500 global senior business professionals revealed a limited understanding of the online customer experience. The majority of companies said they have “limited” or “no understanding” of why customers abandon a shopping cart (78%) or leave a site without converting (81%). Instead, most are reactive and rely on other channels to discover customer issues, with 76% most likely to learn about site problems as a result of calls to the customer service team or through customer emails.

“We’re at the point where it’s essential for businesses to maintain a competitive edge by gaining insight into site pain points and taking quick action to dramatically improve the customer experience,” said Matt Raines, VP technology, Bluefly.com. “Failure to do so will render companies powerless in making strategic changes to the site and, over time, this could result in lost customers and lost revenue.”

When asked to identify the single most common problem that customers might encounter on their websites, bad site navigation/poor ‘findability’ was considered to be both the most common (57%) and most serious (55%) problem.

Twenty-nine percent cited lack of information as the second most common and serious (31%) problem that might drive customers away from websites.

Linking online and offline channels and sharing insights across both is also a major challenge for businesses, according to the survey findings, with just 3% describing the multi-channel experience they provide as “excellent” and 24% rating it as “poor” or “very poor.”

Sixty percent of the companies polled admit that the offline parts of their business have little or no understanding of the experience a customer might have at their online store. Currently only 49% of companies have processes in place to prioritize and rectify the problems and issues customers face online. And 52% of those polled plan to invest in the mobile Internet this year.