Customer Satisfaction with E-Commerce Stalls
According to American Customer Satisfaction Index
Amazon and Netflix Defy Downward Trend in Retail; Charles Schwab on Top of Online Brokerage;
Online Travel Reaches All-Time High
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (February 15, 2011) – The American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual E-Commerce Report, produced in partnership with ForeSee Results, shows that customer satisfaction with e-commerce websites is down 2.6% to 79.3 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale, its lowest score since 2004. Falling satisfaction with online retail pulls down aggregate satisfaction with the e-commerce sector overall, which also includes online brokerage and online travel.
“Satisfaction with e-commerce and retail is off from a year ago overall, but the individual company results are mixed, and some organizations manage to find ways and resources to improve the customer experience,” said ACSI Founder Claes Fornell, professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “Still, any downward pressure on satisfaction does not bode well for sustained spending growth at a time when the economy could use it.”
Online retail dips 3.6% to 80, as customer satisfaction with smaller e-retailers suffers a major drop. The “all others” category, which is an aggregate of smaller e-retailers and other companies not individually measured, plunges 6% to 78. But some of the most notable names in e-retail continue to dominate. Amazon (+1% to 87) and Netflix (-1% to 86) switch places at the top of the industry, and eBay gains 3% to 81. Amazon may have had smaller profits than predicted, but it grew its market share and is in position to continue to lead the industry in sales. Netflix may prove to be ahead of the online entertainment curve by offering less expensive streaming-only accounts. Its satisfaction barely slipped despite a shift in business strategy, which is an indication it is doing the right thing.
“In any economic downturn, both businesses and consumers look to improve their bottom line, but the largest companies with the flexibility to offer the discounts and promotions that will satisfy a thrifty consumer and engender long term loyalty,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results.
Customer satisfaction with online brokerage remains flat at 78, but Charles Schwab overtakes Fidelity at the top for the first time ever. Charles Schwab gains a point to 80, while Fidelity moves in the opposite direction, slipping one point to tie the industry aggregate of 78. But the biggest mover is E*TRADE, which gains 3% to 76 and has improved 10 points since it was first measured in 2000. ForeSee Results research shows that E*TRADE’s customers tend to be younger and more likely to interact with the company through newer media like Facebook and mobile apps.
“Charles Schwab and Fidelity know their customers better and are beating the Internet pure-play e-brokerages, which is impressive for the oldest and most traditional names in the game,” said Freed. “But E*TRADE is carving itself a niche by targeting a different kind of customer and has made big strides over the last ten years in terms of satisfaction, which is a proven predictor of financial results.”
Customer satisfaction with online travel jumps 1.3% to a new all-time high of 78 and an increase of 4% since 2008. Expedia scores 79 to lead the industry, and it has led or held a share of the industry lead since 2000. The “all others” aggregate of smaller online travel sites like Kayak.com gains a point to 79. Travelocity climbs 3% to 77 and Orbitz slips 1% to 75. Priceline drops 4% to 73, losing most of what it had gained last year. Even though Priceline has high revenues, it trails other sites when it comes to brand familiarity and loyalty.
A New Channel: Mobile Commerce
ForeSee Results applied ACSI methodology to measure customer satisfaction with the online experience of these measured companies when accessed via mobile phone. Aggregate satisfaction for e-commerce mobile commerce scores 75, but the results are not even across the board. Brokerage company mobile commerce websites and applications scored significantly better at 81. The retail and travel sectors of e-commerce scored 75.
“Mobile commerce is still emerging and presents a tremendous opportunity for growth,” said Freed. “It is the ‘wild west’ in terms of mobile apps, and companies can really begin to distinguish themselves if they pay close and careful attention to their customers’ needs and expectations on the mobile channel.”
A free report with historical scores for all of the e-commerce companies measured by the ACSI is available at www.ForeSeeResults.com.
About ForeSee Results
As the leader in customer satisfaction measurement, ForeSee Results captures and analyzes voice of customer data to help organizations increase loyalty, recommendations and marketing value. Using a patented, scientific methodology developed at the University of Michigan, ForeSee Results identifies improvements across all channels and touch points that drive customer satisfaction. With over 58 million survey responses collected to date and benchmarks across dozens of industries, ForeSee Results offers unparalleled expertise in customer satisfaction measurement and management around the globe.
ForeSee Results can be found online at www.ForeSeeResults.com.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. ACSI releases results for various sectors of the economy on a monthly basis to provide up-to-the-moment coverage over the entire calendar year. The national index is updated quarterly and factors in scores from more than 225 companies in 45 industries and from government agencies over the previous four quarters. The Index was founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and is produced by ACSI LLC. ACSI can be found on the Web at www.theacsi.org.