E-Commerce Times Talkback
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Shopping online is a far different experience than it is offline. With few exceptions,
when people shop online they are on their own. How did consumers come to accept such a
double standard? Among other factors, a slump in the quality of brick-and-mortar customer
service may underlie this apparent dichotomy. "I think the best thing that ever happened
to e-commerce is the death of the service industry in America," Giga Information Group
research director John Ragsdale said.
BUT, this assessment is unfortunately true:
The most serious problem with shopping online occurs when a Web-only store does not adequately handle a complaint or question, according to Ragsdale. Unlike at a brick-and-mortar store, there is no way to ask for the manager of an e-tail outlet.
"When there are no phone numbers or e-mail addresses listed, you are at their mercy," Ragsdale said. "You often are funneled to a form to fill out, instead of an e-mail address, so you don't even have a copy of the complaint for your records."
Even worse, when customers do send e-mail or fill out a form online, according to Gartner's Sarner, companies sometimes do not respond for two or three days.
Brick vs. Click
I wholeheartedly agree with the assessment that online service compares favorably with "brick & mortar" stores