San Francisco - A majority of consumers who experience problems visiting or making transactions on insurance Web sites will abandon transactions entirely or even turn to competitors, according to results of a consumer survey. The survey, commissioned by San Francisco-based TeaLeaf Technology Inc. and conducted by Rochester, N.Y.-based Harris Interactive Inc., focused on U.S. consumer transaction experiences on shopping, banking, travel and insurance Web sites. About nine in 10 (88%) online consumers experienced problems when transacting online, potentially impacting an estimated 4.5% of all online consumer transactions, according to survey results.Hundreds of respondents submitted vignettes of bad online experiences, most concerning failed, inaccurate or incomplete transactions, endless "loops" in a business process or inability to simply checkout at retail sites. One respondent who used an insurance Web site said, "[I] paid an insurance payment online through their Web site and it didn't go through. I ended up paying a late fee because of it."

Transaction failures on a company's Web site create such a bad impression in the eyes of consumers that just one troublesome issue can cause irreparable harm to a company's brand. Ninety-one percent of online consumers who experienced any type of problem when conducting an online transaction said they are at least somewhat likely to question the ability of a company to keep their private data secure if they encounter an online issue. Since Web site security (26%) and ease of completing a transaction (22%) are the top two factors contributing to a positive customer experience when conducting an online transaction, any type of problem or issue has the potential to negatively impact the trusted relationship between the consumer and the Web site, with severe implications for the brand.

Among other findings, the survey also showed that about one in three online consumers (32%) would abandon a transaction at a Web site and immediately turn to an online (27%) or offline (12%) competitor.

The top problems that would cause online consumers to immediately and permanently turn to a competitor's Web site are:

  • incorrect information or lack of adequate information on the Web site (41%);
  • inability to complete the transaction due to an endless loop (36%);
  • difficulty navigating the Web site (37%); and
  • being automatically kicked off the page (25%).

Source: TeaLeaf Technology Inc.

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