Tech firms fail in online service

3 Apr 2003

Dublin-based International Ventures’ subsidiary firm, The Customer Respect Group, found that the hi-tech sector lags behind the airline, travel and telecom sectors when it comes to responding to customers’ online queries.

International Ventures is chaired by former NewWorldCommerce CEO Donal Daly and the CEO is Paul O’Dea, founder of banking software company Credo, and specialises in providing strategic consulting services to hi-tech firms. The Customer Respect Group is its US-based subsidiary.

The survey studied more than 500 websites belonging to the world’s top technology companies and found that Hewlett-Packard (HP) ranked first when it came to online customer respect, but also found that one third of hi-tech firms doesn’t respond to website queries. Among tech sector firms, 57pc responded to customer queries within 48 hours and 10pc responded in four days or more.

Donal Daly said: “It’s great to see that many of the companies covered in a previous study have improved. Dell and EDS have made great headway in the last six months.”

“However, given the dramatic slump in hi-tech fortunes during the past few years and their in-house technology talent, it’s amazing that all firms in this sector don’t make a stronger effort with their websites.

“At the lower end of the table, companies are just getting worse – some despite having been made aware of the issues. If they want to capture new customers, or even keep the ones they have, they’re just going to have to treat them with more respect,” Daly warned.

The highest ranked organisation in the tech sector was HP with 9.7 (out of 10), whilst the lowest was Tech Data Corporation at 2.0. The sector’s average was 6.8. Dell (9.3), Xerox (9.2), IBM (9.0) and Microsoft (9.0) ranked second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Daly said: “The most pressing issue for one third of these companies is simply to begin responding to customer enquiries. Nothing turns off a customer or potential customer faster than getting no response. We were surprised to see that only 29pc use simple, but effective, Autoresponder technology.”

By John Kennedy