January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Yankee Group Says Customers Want Care

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Customer service issues continue to limit online shopping according to the Boston-based e-business research and consulting company Yankee Group's report "When Bad Things Happen to Good Shoppers - The Importance of Providing Quality Online Retail Customer Service." The top five customer service related issues that limit consumers' online shopping are: the inability to tell the merchandise quality via the computer (65%), concern about the web site's legitimacy (55%), returning items bought online is too difficult (52%), not comfortable sending credit card number over the Internet (52%), and the difficult navigation of retail web sites (35%). The Yankee Group believes that the success of online retailers this holiday season will be affected greatly by their ability to meet the customer service expectations of their customers. "When it comes to keeping customers happy, providing quality customer service is one of the most valuable strategies at an online retailer's disposal," according to Christine Loeber, program manager of the Online Retail Strategies Planning Service for the Yankee Group. Many online retailers remain very reactive about customer service, making amends only after a customer has had a bad shopping experience. And even those online retailers that have started to think more proactively about customer service too frequently fail in their efforts to execute strategies that simply and effectively enhance consumers' online shopping experiences, the report says.

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