Friday, December 5, 2008

Cyber Satisfaction

Foresee Results, a survey company, is conducting some customer satisfaction studies on cyber shoppers during this holiday season. They have just released the results of the Cyber Monday shopping. They surveyed more than 270,000 visitors at more than 80 online retailers between Friday, November 28th and Cyber Monday, December 1st. They used the ACSI methodology because of the ACSI's scientifically proven predictive abilities. ACSI has shown in previous studies (see their web site or call them directly for specific references) that satisfaction is the best measure of future success.

There are two points that, in my opinion are worth discussing; namely the satisfaction comparison between this year and last year and the impact of e-retail website satisfaction scores on purchases.

1. The Cyber Monday customer satisfaction score is down about 1% from 2007. (Score was 76.6 in 2007 and 75.9 in 2008 on a 100 point scale). Apparently the satisfaction scores were lower on every website element that was measured. Considering all the problems with the economy, it would appear that little was translated into the satisfaction of using the web for cyber shopping. There are many possible speculations to explain this minimal impact. Of course, it would be worthwhile to know how this compares to the customer satisfaction of shoppers at the malls on Black friday. I leave that to the speculators.

2. The more important point comes from the data analysis performed by Foresee Results. They noticed that e-retail websites with superior satisfaction scores (greater than 80) had customers that were significantly more likely to purchase online and offline than visitors to sites with subpar customer satisfaction (scores less than 70).

The bottom line is that this evidence appears to demonstrate that customer satisfaction is not limited to face-to-face communication. This study demonstrates once again the three legged stool of customer satisfaction ( satisfaction has three compontents; naamely, product, process and people). In this case, the customer contact with the e-retailer is limited to the web site process and product (people are not involved). The web e-retailers who understand this and built a website whose process exceeds the customer expectations and allows easy access to its products is rewarded by increased sales.

Perhaps this is obvious, but given this result, it once again demonstrates that satisfaction is a significant key to increased sales.

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