Fasthosts reveals 1 in 3 firms still prioritise replies to postal letters over emails

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Fasthosts survey shows a third of British firms may be losing income by not treating customer emails seriously

The latest research survey from Fasthosts Internet Ltd, a leading web hosting provider, has revealed that 1 in 3 British firms may be losing income by failing to treat emails from customers as seriously as they do postal letters.

The Fasthosts (http://www.fasthosts.co.uk/ ) study of 1495 firms* found that a worrying number still prioritise letters received over emails, and may also be alienating customers, with 1 in 3 mislaying emailed orders at least once a quarter. A further survey of 1400 UK adults** found that 69% expected an email to be valued equally to a letter. Whilst 54% of consumers believe they would spend more with email-efficient firms, however only 29% of businesses recognise this.

The Fasthosts Business Email Attitudes' study found that a significant number of UK businesses are out of step with consumer expectations for business email (http://www.fasthosts.co.uk/email/exchangebusiness/ ) communication. Whilst three quarters of business owners believe email is an important tool for them, 34% admitted to still prioritising replies to written letters when these were received. 56% do not have a company policy for the time taken to respond to customer emails, and remarkably, 52% still do not utilise a mobile email solution (http://www.fasthosts.co.uk/email/mobile-email/ ) such as a Smartphone when off-site.

Significantly, 58% of firms reported that customer emails have been lost or deleted in error over the past year. 1 in 3 admitted to losing customer order emails at least once per quarter, and 1 in 10 firms do so at least once per month. 20% of firms have received complaints as a direct result of failing to respond to customer emails, over the past year, however, only 1 in 4 companies has a process in place for ensuring customer emails are fully resolved, and 48% have the facility to archive emails following the completion of a customer's order.

The top email bug-bears reported are never receiving a reply (77%), prolonged delays to replies (63%) and automated replies that do not answer questions (61%). Furthermore, 45% of shoppers now expect all firms, irrespective of size, to be capable of emailing out electronic versions of documents such as brochures, quotations or order forms - a facility that 61% of firms surveyed do not presently provide.

During the past year, 27% of firms surveyed have regularly deleted genuine customer emails as a result of mistaking them for SPAM. Healthy rewards are available for UK companies willing to optimise their use of email. 54% of consumers believe that they would be likely to spend more with a business if it showed it was timely and professional at responding to their emails.

  • 1495 UK small companies with a website surveyed in April 2010 via electronic feedback form

** 1428 UK adults surveyed by OpinionMatters in March 2010 via electronic feedback form

About Fasthosts
Fasthosts is a leading web hosting provider (http://www.fasthosts.co.uk/hosting/ ). Based in the UK and operating 24x7 from their dedicated UK data centres, Fasthosts keeps over 1 million domains running smoothly and ensures over 42 million emails are delivered safely each day. All Fasthosts services can be self-managed through the award winning Fasthosts web-based control panel that provides customers with unparalleled online control, enabling them to manage hosted services including domain registrations, shared web hosting, business-class email, virtual private servers (http://www.fasthosts.co.uk/Virtual-servers/ ), dedicated servers, software-as-a-service, internet merchant accounts and unlimited broadband. Fasthosts' maintains an award-winning, highly successful reseller channel.

For further information please contact:
Richard Stevenson
Fasthosts
Discovery House
154 Southgate Street
Gloucester
GL1 2EX
+44 (0)1452 561 857
http://www.fasthosts.co.uk

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Richard Stevenson
Fasthosts
+44 (0)1452 561 857
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