Most UK e-businesses risk losing customer trust because they ignore launch trials

Hundreds of new e-business services (not just web-sites) have been launched in the UK in 1999 – from e-banks to insurance and pension providers – and PwC predicts that this figure will explode with over £60bn worth of consumer sales over the Internet by 2003.

But with market share values impacted as a direct result of Internet service disruptions, the consequences of e-business failure can be significant.

Almost all are likely to have had problems and already over one fifth have suffered significant customer service disruption as a result of unforeseen additional demand or server overload.

Charles Johnson, PricewaterhouseCoopers ServiceTrust leader in the UK, said: ‘An accelerating number of businesses – brand leaders and new start-ups alike – are looking to the Internet as a means of broadening their product reach and engaging directly with customers.

‘But the explosion in Internet-based services comes at a price. Whatever service is being provided – on-line shopping, ticket-booking, banking or share dealing for example – companies which don’t meet expectations are in danger of losing customer trust.

‘While businesses have been racing to get to market first, we are beginning to see that hasty launches, which do not deliver first class, resilient services, are losing customers, compromising shareholder value and ultimately choking business growth. Many companies are limping through a succession of Internet service disruptions and relying on tolerant customers not to seek an alternative service.’

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