75% of FTSE companies treat UK businesses as `second class citizens'.

Position:E-Commerce

75% of companies treat UK businesses as `second class citizens', potentially costing themselves billions of pounds every year. This was the key finding of the Ironside Order Disorder" Study which compared business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales ordering inquiries across a variety of sales channels and vertical sectors. Overall, 85% of UK FTSE companies surveyed were guilty of poor customer service and unhelpful ordering procedures.

The Study revealed that e-Commerce has now overtaken fax in the UK as the best way to conduct business. 87% of companies surveyed completely ignored sales inquiries by fax, whereas 57% of companies responded to inquiries by email. Companies that also, had online ordering performed significantly better in the study, with the three best-performing companies all offering online services. Fax was the worst performing channel overall, scoring an average of only 5%, on overall efficiency and customer service, whereas the web scored the second-highest overall, with an average of 50% and email came third overall with an average of 26%.

The Ironside Order Disorder'" Study was carried out by independent researchers for Ironside Technologies, a global leader in business-to-business e-Commerce solutions for manufacturers and distributors: It surveyed 54 FTSE companies' responses to sales inquiries by letter, fax, telephone, web site and email, and marked them on accuracy, speed, responding to deadline and helpfulness of answer. The Study compared results across six sectors: automotive, food and drink, pharmaceuticallchemical, electronics, IT and retail. 85% of companies rated less than 50% on overall efficiency and customer service in the survey, with the automotive sector performing the worst, rating only 12% on average.

The Study also exposed fundamental flaws in the `customer service and ordering procedures of large FTSE quoted companies, ranging from a complete lack of response to long telephone hold times and inadequate training for front-line staff.

Key findings of the research:

* Despite large IT investment in Customer Relationship Management technologies, performance was very inconsistent, with overall performance by channel varying by 56%--from fax, which scored only 5% overall, to phone, which scored 61%.

* 89% could not take orders online or allow people to track order progress Those companies that did offer online ordering performed significantly better in the survey

* 20% did not respond at all to...

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