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New DMA Report Finds Increasing Use Of Web Sites To Manage Customer Service Fulfillment Functions
NEW YORK, March 27, 2002 – After largely being ignored in the initial hype of e-commerce, the Direct Marketing Association’s (The DMA) State of the E-Commerce Industry Report 2001-2002 found that while the use of the Web in managing customer service fulfillment functions is becoming more widely used for simple transactions, it does have limits for inventory updates and exchanges.
Proving online customer service is quickly becoming crucial for business success, the report, which is set for release late March, found that 75 percent of Web-based companies now integrate their customer service functions fully into the telephone/fax and Internet based systems. It also found that 62 percent of respondents now integrate their customer functions to provide product information and more than half (55 percent) to process orders.
"The Internet not only provides companies with another opportunity to market products and services but also provides the ability to improve a customers’ experience," said H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA. "And as more people embrace online shopping, from home and the office, they expect instant customer service via a toll-free number, live text chat, or real-time response."
The report also found that 89 percent of respondents said their customer service reps and telemarketers responded to customers’ requests within 24 hours. Those targeting their Web site to business-to-business (B-to-B) segments had a slightly better response time to customer requests (46 percent within one hour), compared to consumer marketers (34 percent).
The report also found that:
"Traditional direct marketers who built their reputations on customer service were early adopters of real-time technologies," Wientzen added. "As a result, they are applying their existing customer service fulfillment technology to realize economies of scale when conducting Web business."
The DMA’s State of the E-Commerce Industry Report 2001-2002 was conducted by The DMA in cooperation with the Association for Interactive Marketing (AIM) during the fourth quarter of 2001. The report provides a realistic outlook on how economic changes have affected the interactive playing field, and previews some of the challenges that may lie ahead. Nearly 700 companies involved in direct and interactive marketing contributed to the report.
The full report, available in April, is priced at $495 for DMA members ($995 for non-members) and can now be ordered through The DMA Book Distribution Center. Call 301.604.0187 or visit The DMA’s Web site at www.the-dma.org/bookstore/cgi/bookstore.
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,700 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors. Included are catalogers, Internet retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States exceeded $1.86 trillion in 2001, including $118 billion in catalog sales and $30 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMA's Web site iswww.the-dma.org, and its consumer Web site is www.shopthenet.org.
Media Contact: Christina Duffney