Consumers are facing holiday misery due to shoddy and slow online customer service. Research has found that 80 per cent of major travel companies couldn’t answer more than two out of ten of the most often asked travel questions online - with some unable to answer any at all. To make matters worse 60 per cent of companies then failed to respond to questions sent by email. Those that did bother to reply took an average of nearly two days (42 hours) to get back to customers - almost as long as a weekend break.
This research was carried out by online customer service software company Transversal as part of a wider survey of travel, banking, insurance, telecoms and consumer goods websites - travel performed the worst. It surveyed leading airline and holiday companies in February 2005 - when the majority of Britons are looking to book summer holidays. Questions asked covered basic topics such as destinations, legal requirements and timetable information.
Unlike other sectors, where a few stars were let down by bad performers, all travel companies performed badly, with 40 per cent of companies failing to successfully answer any questions at all.
“With spring finally here, arranging a holiday is top of all of our priorities,” commented Davin Yap, CEO, Transversal. “While the web has revolutionised how we book travel, too many companies treat online customers as second class citizens. Not being able to answer basic questions online is shameful and short-sighted - frustrated travellers don’t want to phone a call centre or wait days to find out information they need to book their breaks.”
Nearly half of UK consumers use the web as part of the buying process for goods and services, with booking flights and holidays top of the list, according to analyst Retail Decisions.
The survey was part of wider research carried out by Transversal with fifty organisations in the travel, banking, insurance, consumer goods and telecoms sectors. Travel scored lowest for overall online customer service, with the banking sector coming top.