IT firms fall down online

IT firms aren’t good at getting back to online customer enquiries and may pass your data on to a third party without telling you. Apart from that, their web sites are pretty good.

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By  Peter Branton Published  May 5, 2004

IT firms aren’t good at getting back to online customer enquiries and may pass your data on to a third party without telling you. Apart from that, their web sites are pretty good. At least, that would seem to be a fair conclusion from the latest report from research firm The Customer Respect Group on the IT products and services sector. The firm assesses how companies in industry sectors treat their customers online, according to a number of criteria. While most company sites surveyed in the IT industry sector were seen as easy to navigate and 59 out of 61 have privacy policies in place, 29% of companies share personal data submitted to them online with an unaffiliated third party without getting the customer’s permission. When it came to answering customer questions, 32% didn’t respond to any enquiries at all, while 23% only responded to half of submitted questions. “Research indicates that 82% of internet users decline to provide any personal information because too many customer details were asked for that didn’t seem necessary,” said Roger Fairchild, president of The Customer Respect Group, in a statement. “And 64% decide not to buy online because they aren’t certain how their personal data might be used. High-tech firms need to wake up to the fact that sharing information without permission is bad for business. Moreover since, on average, users abandon 20% of web sites they visit due to an unsatisfactory experience, you have to wonder why more than half of high-tech firms aren’t responding to questions directly posed to them. Clearly, being technologically savvy doesn’t correlate directly to providing a high-quality web site experience.” HP scored the highest on all criteria, with IBM, Western Digital and Microsoft also receiving good scores. Low performers included Tech Data and Ingram Micro.

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