Lost Online Sales Expected to Double

Inadequate Web-site customer service could cost online retailers $3.2 billion this holiday season, a doubling of the $1.6 billion in losses Web sites incurred during last year's holiday season, according to a report released last Friday by Datamonitor, New York.

The report, titled "Web-Integrated Call Centers: Filling Up the Shopping Cart," attributes the loss to the low percentage of live online help available on Web sites.

"It is imperative for companies to integrate live customer service with their Web sites as soon as possible," said Datamonitor analyst Leonard Chang.

According to the report, 10 percent of abandoned shopping cart sales could be saved if better service were provided. Less than 1 percent of all e-commerce Web sites, however, currently offer live customer assistance.

Less than 8 percent of the 69,500 call centers in the United States are Web-enabled, but 40 percent are expected to provide multimedia customer service by 2003.
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