Insurance customers won't tolerate difficult navigation, endless loops that prevent transactions or other Web site challenges, according to survey results released by San Francisco-based Tealeaf Technology Inc. The survey, conducted by Rochester, N.Y.-based Harris Interactive Inc., indicates about nine out of 10 consumers conducting transactions online (within a number of industries) have experienced problems. This year's survey highlights online consumer intolerance, as 42% of those who have experienced problems when conducting online transactions switched to a competitor or abandoned the transaction entirely. Additionally, 52% who experienced bad customer service from a company's contact center following an online issue stopped doing business with the company as a result.

E-commerce continues to grow, as research from Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. estimates 2007 online retail sales at $157.4 billion, and expects this number to grow to $271.6 billion (or 9% of retail sales overall) by 2011 ("U.S. Retail eCommerce Forecast"). But, this growth camouflages underlying issues. "We're in a 'perfect storm' as users' dependency on e-commerce grows and their patience for bad online experiences wears thin," says Rebecca Ward, CEO of Tealeaf. "More than a decade into e-commerce, we're increasingly savvy online consumers, and we're no longer willing to put up with experiences that do not live up to our expectations."

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