UK companies fail to look after online customers

UK companies are failing miserably to engage customers on the internet, a report released today from EPiServer has revealed.

The report highlighted that, due to the huge growth of social networking over the last few years and the fact that people are online more than they ever were, businesses need to adapt their online activities, to better mirror – and even promote – the interactivity of peer to peer engagement, while providing an engaging brand experience that the public increasingly wants and expects.

The report found that the majority of of UK companies are still employing a weak Web 1.0 user experience, lacking in most forms of  customer engagement.

Only 34 percent of companies featured an online community, the highest proportion of which were telecommunications companies. Of those that did have a community on the web, 44 percent initiated discussions with users, while 70 percent actively engaged in previously started discussions.

A paltry 15 percent of companies advertise their Twitter account on their homepage and only 19 percent advertise their Facebook page, which is very poor practice for a time that is heavily permeated by social media.

As for blogs, 40 percent of companies had one, but only 39 percent of them updated it regularly, with only 19 percent actively promoting it. The report found that sports, community, and travel websites were the top of the list for keeping a blog.

Companies performed a bit better with more traditional forms of customer engagement. 79 percent listed a contact number. 55 percent contained a web form. Only 43 percent gave an e-mail address. A meagre 5 percent offered a live chat service.

EPiServer used companies from the Hitwise list of UK business that received the most web hits for the report. It studied 80 companies in total, 10 in each of the following sectors: telecoms, charity, retail, sport, travel, public sector, finance and utilities.

“There is little doubt that online engagement can bring a number of benefits, including increased brand affinity, loyalty and bottom line results,” the report said.