Customer Respect Group Summer 2003 Study


The Customer Respect Group, an international research and consulting firm that focuses on how corporations treat their customers online, today released the results of its Summer 2003 Online Customer Respect Study of Airline, Travel and Hotel/Resort/Casino firms that rank among the country`s largest 1000 companies.
Overall, Northwest Airlines was the highest scoring airline, Orbitz scored highest among travel firms and Wyndham and Marriott were the highest scoring hotels/resorts/casinos. Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines was the lowest scoring airline, Carlson Wagonlit faired worst among travel firms and Boyd Gaming, Mandalay Resort and Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts scored lowest among hotels/resorts/casino firms.
The study is the only to bring objective measure to the analysis of corporate performance from an online customer`s perspective. It assigns a Customer Respect Index (CRI(TM)) to each company. The Customer Respect Index is a qualitative and quantitative in-depth analysis and independent measure of a customer`s online experience when interacting with companies via the Internet.
The combined sector was last surveyed in the Winter 2003 Online Customer Respect Study. Among the trends: Travel firms` CRI moved from 6.5 to 8.0, a significant improvement. Among the reasons is that the Responsiveness CRI improved by a full 3 points. That was aided in large part by the fact that while 35 percent of firms didn`t respond to online inquiries last time, 100 percent of them responded to inquiries this study.
Among airlines, the overall CRI went down from 8.1 to 7.4 While 100 percent of firms responded to inquiries in both surveys, the turnaround time for responding increased. For example, in the Winter study, 88 percent responded within 48 hours. In this survey, only 38 percent responded within that timeframe.
Hotel, casinos and resort CRI scores fell to 6.8 from 7.5. The decline was spread among several areas.
“The overall improvement and scores among travel firms is impressive,” said Donal Daly, CEO of The Customer Respect Group. “Studies show that online customers make purchasing choices based on how they are treated. Airlines and hotels/resorts/casinos should take note and make changes to increase their potential share of online business. Almost all firms are now responding to online inquiries and have tackled simplicity issues, but most can improve in how quickly they respond andtreat personal information.”
By looking at more than 1000 Web sites across a spectrum of industries in detail, The Customer Respect Group has determined 25 different attributes that combine to create the entire online customer experience. These attributes have been grouped together and measured as indicators of Privacy (respects customer privacy), Principles (values and respects customer data), Attitude (customer-focus of site), Transparency (open and honest policies), Simplicity (ease of navigation), and Responsiveness (quick and thorough responses to inquiries). Combined they measure a company`s overall Customer Respect.
Among airlines, the highest ranked organization was Northwest Airlines (CRI: 9.1 out of 10), while the lowest was Southwest Airlines (CRI: 5.7).
Other findings for sector firms include the following:
—Surveyed firms receive the best overall rating (CRI: 8.4) for Simplicity and the worst (CRI: 6.2) for Principles.

—All firms responded to online inquiries. 38 percent did so within 48 hours, 12 percent responded within 72 hours and 50 percent responded after 72 hours.

—Some 75 percent of these firms use Autoresponder technology, in which emails are automatically sent back to users to confirm the receipt of their inquiry and let them know when they should expect a response. Of these, all followed with a full response.

—Some 89 percent of companies provide email forms for online inquiries.

—11 percent provide email addresses.

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—Some 67 percent provide a keyword search function on their site.

—All sector firms have privacy policies on their sites explaining how customers` personal data is being used.

—While 89 percent use cookies, 12 percent of them don`t explain how they can be disabled. Some 12 percent use cookies, have a privacy policy, but don`t provide an explanation of how to disable cookies.
Among travel firms, the highest ranked organization was Orbitz (CRI: 9.7 out of 10), while the lowest was Carlson Wagonlit (CRI: 5.3).
Other findings for these firms include the following:

—Surveyed firms receive the best overall rating (CRI: 8.6) for Simplicity and the worst (CRI: 7.4) for Principles.

—All responded to online inquiries. Of those that did respond, 70 percent did so within 48 hours, and 30 percent responded after 72 hours.

—Only 40 percent of these firms use Autoresponder technology, in which emails are automatically sent back to users to confirm the receipt of their inquiry and let them know when they should expect a response. Of these, all followed with a full response.

—Some 80 percent of companies provide email forms for online inquiries.

—20 percent provide email addresses.

—Some 30 percent provide a keyword search function on their site.

—All firms have privacy policies on their sites explaining how customers` personal data is being used.

—While 90 percent use cookies, 22 percent of them don`t explain how they can be disabled. Some 22 percent use cookies, have a privacy policy, but don`t provide an explanation of how to disable cookies.
Among hotels/resorts/casinos, the highest ranked organization was Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (CRI: 9.0 out of 10), while the lowest were Boyd Gaming, Mandalay Resort Group and Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (CRI: 4.3).
Other findings for these firms include the following:

—Surveyed firms receive the best overall rating (CRI: 7.7) for Simplicity and the worst (CRI: 6.3) for Principles and Responsiveness.

—Some 9 percent don`t respond to online inquiries. Of those that do respond, 50 percent do so within 48 hours and 50 percent respond after 72 hours.

—Only 33 percent of these sector firms use Autoresponder technology, in which emails are automatically sent back to users to confirm the receipt of their inquiry and let them know when they should expect a response. Of these, 50 percent followed with a full response.

—Some 84 percent of companies provide email forms for online inquiries.

—8 percent provide email addresses.

—8 percent only provide offline contact information (phone numbers or postal addresses).

—Only 33 percent provide a keyword search function on their site.

—Some 75 percent of firms have privacy policies on their sites explaining how customers` personal data is being used.

—While 75 percent use cookies, 22 percent of them don`t explain how they can be disabled. Some 33 percent use cookies, have a privacy policy, but don`t provide an explanation of how to disable cookies.
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