Consumers Switch To Competitors If Business Website Lacks Communication Tools

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77 percent of consumers switch to competitors if a business website does not provide communication methods. Positive communication experiences cause 85 percent of consumers to bookmark the website.

For businesses to remain progressive and appealing, it is imperative that they use advanced features to communicate with the consumer. Small businesses especially should take advantage of communications applications to continue providing a direct and personal approach to consumers.

An alarming 77 percent of Americans report that they would switch to a competitor if a business website did not provide ways to communicate, such as contact information or real-time dialog, according to a study by MaCorr Research and sponsored by 1&1 Internet Inc., the world's largest web host by known servers. Some 78 percent of consumers are irritated when unable to find a way to communicate on a business' website. Almost half of consumers (48 percent) have felt angry to the degree they tell someone; even 5 percent admitted being brought to tears or violence by the problem. The ability to contact a business was the most important aspect of using a business' website for 85 percent of Americans. Therefore it is not surprising that consumers report having been most irritated by being unable to find the contact phone number (91 percent) and unable to find the contact email (82 percent). On the contrary, a successful experience contacting a business will cause 85 percent of consumers to bookmark the website.

According to 1&1's 'Website Communication Survey' of some 1,025 US consumers, 89 percent of consumers expect all businesses to have a website regardless of the size. Although this is the case, 68 percent select an SMB for greater personal attention and over half (51 percent) chose an SMB, over a large corporation, because of the individual relationship they build with the business. It is therefore vital for SMBs to utilize communication tools to provide that personal attention. Some 70 percent of consumers have a negative perception of businesses that do not provide ways to communicate directly. A lack of clear contact information such as address and telephone numbers on a business website has elicited a negative emotional response such as irritation (78 percent) all the way to tears or violence (5 percent).

Andreas Gauger, Chairman of the Board, 1&1 Internet Inc., said, "For businesses to remain progressive and appealing, it is imperative that they use advanced features to communicate with the consumer. Small businesses especially should take advantage of communications applications to continue providing a direct and personal approach to consumers."

The survey also revealed businesses that provide effective communications features benefit significantly. After successfully contacting a business, almost all consumers (97 percent) agree they would visit the website again and use the business in the future. Some 93 percent would use the business more frequently, 92 percent would recommend the business to others and an astonishing 85 percent would bookmark the website on their browser. It is not surprising that, 'Availability of contact information,' is the most important (85 percent) characteristic of a business website.

"Our research clearly shows that consumers value an approachable and easily accessible business. More of us than ever are using real-time online messaging in our everyday lives and consumers now place high expectations on businesses to provide a means of communication," said Gauger.

Americans are becoming increasingly keen on real-time live dialogue via the web. The survey found that almost half of consumers (49 percent) use live chat and instant messenger tools 11+ times a month. Over 50 percent of consumers perceive companies that provide communication features such as real-time dialog as progressive, advanced, and eager to please the customer. As consumers use technology more, the demand for easily accessible and advanced communication features is becoming more important for business websites. 1&1's survey revealed that the majority of consumers (72 percent) will spend less than 3 minutes searching for contact information on a website before switching to another site.

Gauger added, "At 1&1 we continually research and develop applications for businesses to maintain an innovative web presence. Our communication tools provide the ability to offer the appeal of personal attention, while competing against large corporations in the industry. Every US business must recognize the features that attract consumers to a website, as well as use those tools that turn a consumer into a loyal customer."

For more information on 1&1 Internet Inc., visit the website at http://www.1and1.com.

About 1&1 Internet Inc.:
1&1 Internet Inc. is a subsidiary of United Internet, a profitable public company with a market cap of $4 billion. 1&1 was founded in 1988 and hosts more than 9 million domain names, while more than 47,000 servers run on the company's five state-of-the-art data centers. 1&1's global community is over 7 million customer contracts strong. The company's U.S. headquarters is located in Chesterbrook, PA. For more information, please contact the company at http://www.1and1.com or 1-877-461-2631.

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Ann Marie Tropiano
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