High-Tech Companies Display Minimal Changes in Online Customer Respect Behavior: The Customer Respect Group Summer 2003 Study

BELLEVUE, Wash.--()--Sept. 5, 2003--

  Overall Scores Down Slightly From Winter; Fully 1/3 Still Don't Respond to Web Site Inquiries; HP Shows Highest Overall Customer Respect  

The Customer Respect Group, an international research and consulting firm that focuses on how corporations treat their customers online, today released the results of its Summer 2003 Online Customer Respect Study of computer products and services firms that rank among the country's largest 1000 companies.

Overall, Hewlett-Packard Company scored highest in Customer Respect, while Cadence Design scored lowest. Hewlett-Packard also scored highest in the Winter 2003 Study. Ingram Micro, which scored lowest in the last report, garnered the sector's biggest gains because of its improved responsiveness.

The study is the only to bring objective measure to the analysis of corporate performance from an online customer's perspective. It assigns a Customer Respect Index (CRI(TM)) to each company. The Customer Respect Index is a qualitative and quantitative in-depth analysis and independent measure of a customer's online experience when interacting with companies via the Internet.


The Computer Products and Services sector was last surveyed in the Winter 2003 Online Customer Respect Study of the country's largest 500 companies (versus those among the 1000 companies surveyed this summer). Among the trends: The overall CRI dropped to 6.6 from 6.8, but the Responsiveness CRI improved slightly, from 5.2 to 5.5. In addition, the sector scored lower overall than firms in the Telecom Summer 2003 Online Customer Respect Study (overall CRI: 7.0) and exhibited lower responsiveness (Telecom firms scored 6.5, a full point higher than high-tech firms).

"Overall, the Computer Products and Services sector hasn't made the substantive changes necessary to improve online customer respect," said Terri McNulty, CEO of The Customer Respect Group. "Few of the poorer performing firms made significant gains since our last study. And despite small gains in overall responsiveness scores, one-third of firms still don't respond to inquiries and only 20 percent use autoresponder technology. Beyond this, surveyed firms should focus on key areas such as clarity of privacy principles and interaction with online customers if they wish to improve their CRI scores and better satisfy customers."

By looking at more than 1000 Web sites across a spectrum of industries in detail, The Customer Respect Group has determined 25 different attributes that combine to create the entire online customer experience. These attributes have been grouped together and measured as indicators of Privacy (respects customer privacy), Principles (values and respects customer data), Attitude (customer-focus of site), Transparency (open and honest policies), Simplicity (ease of navigation), and Responsiveness (quick and thorough responses to inquiries). Combined they measure a company's overall Customer Respect.

The highest ranked organization within the sector was Hewlett-Packard (CRI: 9.7 out of 10), while the lowest was Cadence Design (CRI: 2.2). Beyond these scores, the report conveys in great detail improvement opportunities for each company. The sector's Summer 2003 ranking is as follows:

Company Name                                Overall

Hewlett-Packard Company                        9.7
IBM Corporation                                9.5
Ikon Office Solutions, Inc.                    9.3
Arrow Electronics, Inc                         9.1
Pioneer-Standard Electronics, Inc.             9.0
Xerox Corporation                              8.8
Electronic Data Systems Corporation            8.5
Maxtor Corporation                             8.4
IMS Health Inc.                                8.3
Dell Computer Corporation                      8.3
Concord EFS, Inc.                              8.3
EarthLink, Inc.                                8.2
Lexmark International, Inc.                    8.2
ebay Inc.                                      8.0
Microsoft Corporation                          8.0
Fiserv Inc.                                    7.8
Sun Microsystems, Inc.                         7.7
Perot Systems Corporation                      7.6
BMC Software, Inc.                             7.5
Storage Technology Corporation                 7.4
Symbol Technologies, Inc.                      7.4
Insight Enterprises, Inc.                      7.3
Electronic Arts, Inc.                          7.3
Veritas Software Corporation                   7.1
Science Applications International Corp.       7.1
NCR Corporation                                7.0
Unisys Corporation                             7.0
Pitney Bowes Inc.                              7.0
Western Digital Corporation                    6.9
EMC Corporation                                6.9
VeriSign, Inc.                                 6.9
SunGard Data Systems                           6.7
Gateway, Inc.                                  6.6
CDW                                            6.6
Apple Computer, Inc.                           6.6
Silicon Graphics, Inc.                         6.5
Novell, Inc.                                   6.5
Computer Sciences Corporation                  6.3
Graybar Electric Company, Inc.                 6.2
BearingPoint, Inc.                             6.2
Intuit, Inc.                                   6.2
Sabre Holdings Corporation                     6.1
Siebel Systems, Inc.                           5.9
Bell Microproducts, Inc.                       5.9
Oracle Corporation                             5.7
PeopleSoft, Inc.                               5.6
DST Systems, Inc.                              5.5
First Data Corporation                         5.5
Compuware Corporation                          5.4
Computer Associates International, Inc.        5.4
Adobe Systems, Incorporated                    5.3
Ingram Micro, Inc.                             5.3
The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation               5.2
CellStar Corporation                           4.8
Avnet, Inc.                                    4.6
United Stationers Inc.                         4.3
Anixter International Inc.                     4.3
Affiliated Computer Services, Inc.             3.9
Safeguard Scientifics, Inc.                    3.6
Brightpoint, Inc                               3.4
Tech Data Corporation                          2.9
Cadence Design Systems, Inc.                   2.2

Industry Average                               6.6

Other findings for sector firms include the following:

-- Surveyed firms receive the best overall rating (CRI: 8.1) for Simplicity and the worst (CRI: 5.5) for Responsiveness.

-- Some 33 percent don't respond to online inquiries. Of those that do respond, 50 percent do so within 48 hours, 7 percent respond within 72 hours and 43 percent respond after 72 hours.

-- Only 20 percent of these sector firms use Autoresponder technology, in which emails are automatically sent back to users to confirm the receipt of their inquiry and let them know when they should expect a response. Of these, 83 percent followed with a full response.

-- Some 76 percent of companies provide email forms for online inquiries.

-- 21 percent provide email addresses.

-- 3 percent only provide offline contact information (phone numbers or postal addresses).

-- Some 81 percent provide a keyword search function on their site.

-- 87 percent of sector firms have privacy policies on their sites explaining how customers' personal data is being used.

-- 73 percent use cookies, but 24 percent of them don't explain how they can be disabled. Only 2 percent use cookies, but don't provide a privacy policy. And only 22 percent use cookies, have a privacy policy, but don't provide an explanation of how to disable cookies.

How to Order

The Online Customer Respect Annual Subscription offers detailed analysis of a company's Web site, recommendations for improvements, comparative data from competitors' sites, best practices, and industry analysis. It includes twice-annual Industry Sector Reports for all companies in the sector, twice-annual company confidential reports, best practices updates, and the annual Online Customer Respect Study of the largest 100 U.S. companies. Each sector report includes key research findings, a score card on each company in the study, a comprehensive description of the scientific research methodology, data analysis, individual scores, index reports on the industry and a variety of color charts and graphs to illustrate individual and industry performance. The Online Customer Respect Annual Subscription is available for $12,000/year. Individual sector reports, including one company confidential report,are available for $7,500. Companies that want to improve how they treat their customers online can obtain additional information by visiting the Web site, www.CustomerRespect.com, calling 425-454-4151 or emailing info@customerrespect.com.

About The Customer Respect Group

The Customer Respect Group is an international research and consulting firm that uses its Customer Respect Index (CRI(TM)) methodology to help companies improve how they treat their customers online. It provides leadership in the objective and scientific measurement of a customer's online experience. Many of the largest U.S. companies have already adopted the CRI methodology to improve online customer satisfaction and loyalty. The Customer Respect Group is headquartered in Bellevue, WA. For additional information, visit www.customerrespect.com.

All companies and products listed herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

Note to Editors: Graphics files for key findings and a comprehensive report summary are available from george@gccpr.com.


George Cohen Communications
George Cohen, 617-325-0011


George Cohen Communications
George Cohen, 617-325-0011