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E-commerce breeding intolerant customers

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It seems like e-commerce just came into its own yesterday, but it’s already a decade old. That’s plenty of time for consumers to develop certain expectations regarding doing business online, and those attitudes can spill over to our encounters in showrooms and service departments, too.

A recent survey by Harris Interactive (best know for “The Harris Poll”) revealed that consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about online activity and they’re no longer willing to put up with experiences that do not meet their expectations! Companies doing business online must now pay attention to the customers' experiences or risk losing them entirely.

The Harris survey of more than 2300 consumers discovered high consumer frustration with issues they are encountering when using e-commerce websites. Moreover, for the third consecutive year, a whopping 87% of consumers participating in online transactions indicate experiencing problems. In the early years, consumers tolerated problems but now they’re becoming a lot less tolerant. The survey identified consumer intolerance this way: 42% of those who experienced problems with online transactions abandoned the transaction entirely or switched to a competitor. Another 52% who have experienced bad customer service from a company's contact center, following an online issue, have completely stopped doing business with the company. After all, the cost to the consumer of switching is zero and as simple as one “click” and you’re cut out!

It’s becoming clear the internet has changed the consumer’s shopping behavior and expectations. Apparently, companies today are subjected to drastic consequences when they fail to deliver, illustrated by the 42% of online consumers who switched to a competitor after transaction issues. Whether fostered by the internet age or not, we seem to be in the age of the “intolerant consumer.”

So, good customer response looms large for dealers doing online business of any kind. The Harris survey should serve as a motivator to make sure that your website is up-to-date and, especially, functioning correctly without difficulty. Apparently, if you don’t, the result could be just a. . . “click!”

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