Online Shopping Satisfaction on the Rise

By Heather Baldwin

If you’ve been keeping up with consumer satisfaction reports about online shopping experiences, you know things couldn’t get much worse. Complaints about unreasonably slow – even nonexistent – response times and agents who lack adequate knowledge have abounded in past years. But at last there is a slight reversal of this trend, according to Aspect Communications Corp.’s annual survey of online holiday shoppers conducted through independent online market research firm Greenfield Online.

This year’s survey for online shopping experiences in 2003 found that 40% of respondents reported their customer service experiences had greatly improved from those of 12 months ago. Another 54% of online shoppers responded that their customer service experiences were as good as or slightly better than their experiences the previous year. In all, more than 90% of survey respondents had positive customer service experiences shopping online this past holiday season.

“These results indicate many companies are listening in earnest to the concerns of their online customers,” says David Puglia, Aspect’s senior vice president of global marketing. Indeed, respondents to the previous year’s survey complained about overall customer service response times and inadequately trained agents in the newer contact channels, particularly email. This year nearly 20% of those surveyed reported having received responses to their customer service inquiries via email in under an hour and 53% received responses within 12 hours. Email has cemented its place as the most popular contact channel with 70% of all inquiries being submitted through that medium.

Shoppers’ experiences with customer service agents also improved with 53% of survey participants giving high marks for their conversations with live agents. They said agents as a whole were polite, professional, knowledgeable and able to process their requests with accuracy. Less than 3% of respondents reported any serious problems. “When you consider that online-shopping revenue experiences double-digit growth every year, providing the best customer service solution isn’t just about customer retention anymore,” Puglia observes. “Rather it is an imperative for capturing new revenue as it moves online.”

For more information about the survey, visit