Fasthosts Reveals 1 in 3 Firms Still Prioritise Replies to Letters

The latest research survey from Fasthosts Internet Ltd, a leading web hosting provider, has revealed that 1 in 3 British firms may be losing income by failing to treat emails from customers as seriously as they do postal letters.

The Fasthosts study of 1495 firms* found that a worrying number still prioritise letters received over emails, and may also be alienating customers, with 1 in 3 mislaying emailed orders at least once a quarter. A further survey of 1400 UK adults** found that 69% expected an email to be valued equally to a letter. Whilst 54% of consumers believe they would spend more with email-efficient firms, however only 29% of businesses recognise this.

The Fasthosts Business Email Attitudes’ study found that a significant number of UK businesses are out of step with consumer expectations for business email communication. Whilst three quarters of business owners believe email is an important tool for them, 34% admitted to still prioritising replies to written letters when these were received. 56% do not have a company policy for the time taken to respond to customer emails, and remarkably, 52% still do not utilise a mobile email solution such as a Smartphone when off-site.

Significantly, 58% of firms reported that customer emails have been lost or deleted in error over the past year. 1 in 3 admitted to losing customer order emails at least once per quarter, and 1 in 10 firms do so at least once per month. 20% of firms have received complaints as a direct result of failing to respond to customer emails, over the past year, however, only 1 in 4 companies has a process in place for ensuring customer emails are fully resolved, and 48% have the facility to archive emails following the completion of a customer’s order.

The top email bug-bears reported are never receiving a reply (77%), prolonged delays to replies (63%) and automated replies that do not answer questions (61%). Furthermore, 45% of shoppers now expect all firms, irrespective of size, to be capable of emailing out electronic versions of documents such as brochures, quotations or order forms – a facility that 61% of firms surveyed do not presently provide.

During the past year, 27% of firms surveyed have regularly deleted genuine customer emails as a result of mistaking them for SPAM. Healthy rewards are available for UK companies willing to optimise their use of email. 54% of consumers believe that they would be likely to spend more with a business if it showed it was timely and professional at responding to their emails.

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