Dataquest: Online Buyers Mostly Satisfied

Overall customer satisfaction with buying products online is high, in spite of customer service and delivery problems, according to a study issued by Dataquest, a unit of Gartner Group Inc.

Of the 505 households surveyed, 88% said they were satisfied with their online purchasing experience. Those surveyed were pleased with the ease of placing orders and making reservations, Dataquest said.

The research firm originally surveyed 16,500 households in December and then followed up with 505 homes.

Out of an estimated 37 million U.S. homes with Internet access, one-third had at least one person ordering or reserving online from February to April this year, Dataquest said. From those homes, 2.4 million experienced problems such as orders that never arrived and bills for those orders, the research firm said. A quarter of the households that faced problems were unable to e-mail the merchant's customer service department.

According to Dataquest, merchants haven't implemented effective links to back-office systems or given much attention to online customer support. As a result, retailers are offering 24-hour shopping but not 24-hour support, Dataquest said, which may make it difficult to win customer loyalty.

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