E-mail is most important to customers

If there is a particular electronic channel that Swedish companies should focus on developing to keep their customers, it is e-mail. Of the approximately 1,600 people polled in Telia’s survey, 96 percent said that e-mail is a “very important” or “important” channel for getting in contact with companies. Two out of three answered “very important”, which is a much higher percentage than the corresponding figure given for the importance of websites (45 percent) and mobile phones (31 percent).

“E-mail is becoming the favourite channel of customers – you can send a question to a company whenever you want, around the clock, and read the answer when you have the time. But e-mail puts some heavy demands on companies. Few customers accept longer response times than 24 hours,” says Erik Heilborn, head of TeliaSonera Sweden’s Business Segment.

Old and young are just as demanding

The requirement that companies handle e-mail efficiently is shared by both old and young people, men and women. Among those polled who were more than 50 years of age, 96 percent responded that e-mail was a “very important” or “important” channel for contacting companies. The corresponding figure was 98 percent for those younger than 35 in the survey. A more or less equal number of men and women gave the same answer.

When companies do not answer e-mails, or reply late, customers cut off the inquiry process by doing business with another company instead. Eight out of ten in the survey said that they decided not to buy from a company because of poor customer service, while 42 percent answered that a purchase was not made because of a late e-mail reply, or because no reply was received at all.

E-mail will remain important in the future: 70 percent of the respondents in the survey said that ”the possibility to e-mail questions and get a fast answer” was most important for a company’s availability and service through electronic channels in the future.

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About Telia’s Communications Barometer for companies:
In its Communications Barometer survey for companies, Telia, for its report on “Customer Service and Modern Communications”, polled 1,579 Swedes about customer service, among other subjects. The respondents worked at companies that are Telia customers. The survey period was March 22-31, 2005.