SOURCE: eGain

November 20, 2008 07:45 ET

North American Retailers Underperforming in Customer Service Through Electronic Channels

eGain Research Identifies the Need for Retailers to Invest in Online Customer Service

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - November 20, 2008) - eGain Communications Corporation (OTCBB: EGAN), the leading provider of multichannel customer service and knowledge management software on-premise or on-demand, today published its 2008 international benchmarking report for the retail sector. The report benchmarks and compares email customer service and web self-service offered by leading retail companies in North America (the US and Canada) and the UK. The research found that North American retailers performed worse than the UK in email response quality, but better in web self-service and speed of email response. However, the research shows that there is significant room for improvement in both these areas.

eGain used a "mystery shopping" approach to evaluate customer service performance. Posing as prospective buyers of high-value products and services, eGain researchers contacted leading retail businesses through email, showing an obvious intent to buy, and also evaluated the self-service capabilities offered by these businesses. The objectives were to assess the responsiveness and quality of email customer service, the range of "web self-service" options offered, and the ability to easily escalate to agent-assisted service. The North America research also included other aspects of customer service including interaction channels offered, and multichannel and multi-agent service consistency.

The following key statistics emerged from the study:

--  North America findings:
    --  25% of the companies failed to respond to customer emails
    --  65% responded to emails within 24 hours, but 55% of the responses
        were "poor" or "below average" in quality
    --  45% scored "above average" or "exceptional" in web self-service but
        55% received "poor" or "below average"

--  North America-UK comparison:
    --  North America trailed the UK in email response "quality"
        --  Only 45% of the North America sample received an "above
            average" or "exceptional" rating in email quality, compared to
            56% in the UK
    --  North America performed better than the UK in email responsiveness
        --  65% of the North America sample responded to emails within 24
            hours compared to only 36% in the UK
        --  Only 25% of the North America sample completely failed to
            respond to customer emails compared to 35% in the UK
    --   Web self-service performance was poor across the board,
         although North America was ahead of the UK
        --  45% of North American companies scored "above average" or
            "exceptional," compared to only 16% in the UK

"These scores are concerning, especially since email customer service and web self-service are key requirements to attract and retain customers in today's volatile macroeconomic environment and increasing movement of brick-and-mortar purchases to online channels," said Ashu Roy, Chairman and CEO of eGain. "It is crucial that retailers invest in robust customer service management solutions that will not only improve online customer service but also unify the customer service experience across channels."

"Retailers must optimize service performance across existing touch points, particularly e-mail and online self-service. Adherence to best practices within both channels will go a long way toward meeting customers' needs this holiday season," writes Zach McGeary, Associate Analyst for JupiterResearch, a Forrester Research company, in the research report "Customer Service During the Holidays," dated December 10, 2007.

About the State of Customer Service in the Retail Sector research

This report consolidates the findings of the "2008 State of Customer Service in North America" and the "2007 State of Customer Service in the UK" research studies. The combined sample consisted of over 240 leading companies, with $250M or more total annual revenue, and included 50 retailers.

The full report of findings from eGain's research can be downloaded at: http://www.egain.com/best_practices/research.asp.

Additional information on eGain solutions for the retail sector can be found at: http://www.egain.com/solutions/retail.asp.

About eGain

eGain (OTCBB: EGAN) is a leading provider of multichannel customer service and knowledge management software for in-house or on-demand deployment. For more than a decade, the world's largest companies have relied on eGain to transform their traditional call centers, help desks, and web customer service operations into multichannel customer interaction hubs. Based on the Power of One™, the concept of one unified platform for multichannel customer interaction and knowledge management, these hubs enable dramatically improved customer experience, end-to-end service process efficiencies, increased sales, and enhanced contact center performance.

Headquartered in Mountain View, California, eGain has an operating presence in 18 countries and serves more than 800 enterprise customers worldwide. To find out more about eGain, visit www.eGain.com or call the company's offices: 800-821-4358 (US headquarters), 1753-464646 (UK and Continental Europe).

eGain, the eGain logo, and all other eGain product names and slogans are trademarks or registered trademarks of eGain Communications Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. All other company names and products mentioned in this release may be trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies.

Contact Information

  • eGain media contact:
    Connie Pheng
    Phone: 650-230-7449
    Email: pr@egain.com