Ease of Use, Communication and Trust
The CRI is composed of six sub-indices that factor into three meta-concepts identified by customers as their critical concerns when using websites:
- Site Usability – How usable is the site to a wide range of users?
- Communication – How willing is the company to engage in a one-on-one communication to answer specific questions?
- Trust – Can this site be trusted with your personal data?
UK Telecommunications Industry
The report analyzed 14 telecommunications, wireless, cable and MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) companies. Customer ‘churn’ is considered one of the most pressing issues for the telecommunications industry and 25 per cent of customers are considered a high churn risk – those who may be ready to begin purchasing from a competitor at any time. The website is one of the factors affecting churn, especially in the 18–34 age demographic grouping.
The UK industry overall scored an average CRI score of 5.8 out of 10, slightly above average for a range of industries but just below their US and Canadian equivalents.
One company, O2, measured well enough overall to receive the Excellent Customer Respect rating. This is the first website from the UK telecommunications industry to receive the Excellent rating.
The key area of progress for the UK industry was in the area of one-to-one communications, and whilst there is room for improvement, the UK industry, with a score of 6.3, outperformed US (5.7) and Canadian (6.0) telecommunications companies, as well as easily beat the average calculated for a range of industries (4.9).
For the UK companies, 74 per cent of email questions received a ‘quality’ response measured by the content of the answer as well as its timeliness.
Customers expect emails to be responded to in a day or quicker.
The best performers in communications were Virgin Mobile and O2.
Whilst UK companies scored slightly lower than companies in the US for overall usability, they scored higher in the area of site inclusion. Site inclusion looks at support for users without broadband access, non-standard displays, older machines, users with visual impairments, mobility issues and other disabilities. The combined Web audience covered by these factors is growing, and legislation and legal safeguards protect many. The most generally usable site was Kingston Communications, with excellent scores also for O2, Talk Talk and Orange.
Trust was the area of biggest concern for UK telecommunications websites.
The industry scored just 4.9 out of 10 for trust, well below the overall industry average of 5.7. An example of that concern was that just four of the 14 companies use personal data supplied solely for the purpose for which it is provided. In the same vein, 70 per cent routinely reuse information for ongoing marketing without explicit permission. UK companies are generally less clear about policies pertaining to privacy than the US and Canadian companies measured. The two best-scoring companies on trust and privacy issues were O2 and BT.
These UK telecommunications companies were rated:
- O2 … 7.4
Kingston Communications … 6.7
Virgin Mobile UK … 6.7
Talk Talk … 6.5
BT … 6.4
easyMobile … 6.3
Vodafone … 6.3
NTL … 5.5
Tesco Mobile … 5.3
Orange … 5.3
T-Mobile (UK) … 5.1
Telewest Broadband … 5.0
3G UK … 4.8
Toucan … 3.7
Industry Average … 5.8
According to Terry Golesworthy, president of The Customer Respect Group,
The UK telecommunications companies have paid attention to broad site usability, and it is refreshing to see online communications and email taken seriously as vital to customer acquisition and retention.
Conversely, too many companies have taken liberties with the increased amount of information that can be, and is, collected. Customers have so many new choices and have shown that information protection is important to them, so
industry members should heed their privacy concerns.