Report: Companies Fail at E-Mail Customer Service

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Companies are not meeting basic consumer expectations for service via e-mail, which is turning shoppers to the telephone for customer service, according to a study released last week from Jupiter Research, a division of Jupitermedia Corp.


Though 88 percent of consumers surveyed expect a response to e-mail inquiries within 24 hours, only 54 percent of companies sampled in Jupiter Research's latest Customer Service Webtrack met that expectation, the same percentage as in 2001.


That's despite CRM spending continuing to rise. According to Jupiter Research's latest market forecast report, "CRM Through 2008," online CRM technology spending will grow from $2.3 billion in 2003 to $4.7 billion in 2008, accounting for 25 percent of the $18.9 billion of overall CRM spending.


This CRM spending increase is spurred by the continued growth of contact center employees. Financial services companies will remain the largest spenders on CRM, as their expenditures will rise from $3.4 billion in 2003 to $5.9 billion in 2008, accounting for 31 percent of overall spending on CRM at that time, the study found.


"Companies that fail to get serious about their management of customer service e-mail now will pay the price with higher customer service costs and lost revenues down the line," Jupiter Research senior analyst David Daniels said. "This issue will be compounded as customer service e-mail inquiries will rise from 1 billion in 2001 to 3.3 billion in 2008."


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