British Gas Powers Ahead In Providing The Best Online User Experience

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British Gas has topped the first home services benchmark study conducted by eDigitalResearch which used online mystery shoppers to assess the usability and experience of twelve leading utility and broadband supplier websites.

British Gas has topped the first home services benchmark study conducted by eDigitalResearch which used online mystery shoppers to assess the usability and experience of twelve leading utility and broadband supplier websites.

In a highly commoditised sector, where customers can easily switch brands for a better deal, having an intuitive website is the best way to build customer loyalty. With the highest overall rating at 77%, British Gas was seen to provide the best online user experience with an easy to navigate homepage and account area, backed up by clear tariffs and contract information.

E.ON rated highly for its customer service function, scoring 82% for its telephone service with people able to speak directly to a live operator, and scoring 74% for its quick and informative email response service. This boosted it to third position overall behind O2, reflecting the importance of engaging well with consumers via whichever medium they choose.

The study revealed that email customer service was the weakest area overall, scoring an average of 49%, with a variation of almost 50% from leader E.ON to the worst performer.

Derek Eccleston, research director of eDigitalResearch, explains: “The growth of online chat, communities and price comparison sites means that consumers have more power to research, buy and advocate products than ever before. It only takes one poor online review to turn people away. Our study highlights the need for sector improvement in customer service, particularly via email, as people expect to have their queries dealt with quickly and effectively. This is an area where utility and broadband providers can truly differentiate their offering and build customer loyalty.”

The survey also indicates that the sector has some way to go in order to compete with ‘best in breed’ companies for website engagement and customer service, with the top performing websites lagging behind other sectors including retail, travel and finance.

Derek continues: “The problem here is a lack of consistency as the broadband suppliers had unclear and cluttered home pages and certain utility providers weren’t responsive enough to customer queries. It is clear that providers need to re-address the balance to ensure that their websites are both enticing and well-supported.”

To download the full league tables, please click on the following URL: https://ecustomeropinions.com/survey/survey.php?sid=219239159

For more information, please contact Natalie Lyndon at Merchant Marketing Group on: 023 8021 5389; natalie@merchantmarketinggroup.com

Methodology

  •     An eMysteryShopper survey was conducted during March 2010 to compare the end-to-end usability of 12 leading home services supplier websites.
  •     2 categories were selected for comparison:

o    Home phone and/or broadband suppliers
o    Gas and/or electricity suppliers

  •     An eMysteryShopper survey typically covers some 200 quantitative and qualitative questions split under the following headings:

o    Home page
o    Product research
o    Account area
o    Customer service (telephone/email)
o    Customer service guidance
o    Final assessment

  •     The eHomeServices Benchmark is one of a series of benchmark studies covering retail, travel and finance.

About eDigitalResearch
eDigitalResearch is a leading provider of digital market research, enabling customers to make critical business decisions with the benefit of comprehensive consumer insight and informed direction. eDigitalResearch possesses a unique combination of research expertise, marketing background, web technology and knowledge of the cross-channel consumer. As well as providing invaluable research data, the modules of its fully integrated research system - ratings, surveys, panels, communities and forums - can combine to provide holistic analytics and essential market-leading insight. This gives its clients the power, confidence and backup to make crucial decisions on key aspects of their business including product range, marketing, customer service, supply chain, even basic positioning. For further information, please visit: http://www.edigitalresearch.com

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LISA BONCZYK
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