- The Direct Marketing Association will reveal this week that nearly half of all requests for information from companies on the Internet are not responded to.
The findings come from the largest-ever UK research to examine customer demands from relationship marketing on the Internet. Forty per cent of requests for information were not responded to, often because companies were unable to provide the information customers needed, or were not able to let people order products.
The research showed that websites often provided an empty shop window, rather than taking the opportunity to get people to buy products.
The value of a positive experience on a website is considerable, with people likely to make an average of at least two recommendations to others about the website. If they are already customers, this goes up to over five recommendations.
Despite an overall willingness by customers to receive relevant e-mails from companies, most organisations do not use e-mail, leading to customers reverting to faster telephone-based services. Women account for a quarter of Internet users in the UK.
Colin Lloyd, chief executive of the DMA, said: "Many of the hard-learned lessons in direct marketing have not migrated to the new media. We will be using these findings to ensure that the consumer can enjoy identical service levels on- and off-line."
The research was based on 850 responses to a questionnaire on the internet, 20 in-depth telephone interviews, a chat room group and the response to requests for information from 100 companies randomly selected from the internet.