Solicitors and plumbers worst for online customer service, says survey » SMEInsider

Solicitors and plumbers worst for online customer service, says survey

Plumbers, solicitors and online marketing businesses come bottom of the list for online customer service while hotels and B&Bs come out top according to new research published today by online search platform

The team at Intently analysed data from over 16,000 service providers covering 160 business sectors around the world to find out which professions offer the best online consumer experience.

The average response rate for plumbers was just 11 per cent – this means that a customer would need to contact around 10 plumbers in order to get a single response.

For solicitors, the response rate was 15 per cent meaning that a customer would need to contact around 7 solicitors before they got a response.  In contrast, the top performers were hotels and accommodation services with 33 per cent , and cosmetic surgery companies coming in with 32 per cent.

All the emails sent to these businesses were requests for work to be undertaken, so service providers should have been motivated to respond quickly.

Intently’s CEO, Neil Harris said: “These results are very revealing and show us the business sectors that really need to up their game into today’s online marketplace.  It’s ironic that technology providers have greatly underperformed considering that they cover services such as online marketing, social media consultancy and search engine optimisation – you would expect them to be strong on online communication.

“Supply seems to outstrip demand in this area, and these technology providers regularly make unsolicited approaches to potential customers.  This makes it even more surprising that when a genuine lead arrives in a technology provider’s inbox, they don’t seem to know what to do with it.  Home Services includes builders, plumbers and electricians, and just as is the case in the offline world, trying to contact these providers online can be frustrating.”


Worst five industries:

  1. Technology Services e.g. web design and development, SEO services, online marketing and social media (five per cent)
  2. Delivery Services e.g. couriers, flower delivery (11 per cent)
  3. Home Services e.g. plumbers, builders and electricians (15 per cent)
  4. Vehicle Maintenance e.g.  car servicing and tyre replacement (15 per cent)
  5. Legal Services e.g. solicitors and lawyers (16 per cent)


Best five industries:

  1. Holiday accommodation and services e.g. hotels, B&Bs and self catering cottages (33 per cent)
  2. Cosmetic Surgery (32 per cent)
  3. Pet Services e.g. dog grooming, dog walking, kennels and catteries (28 per cent)
  4. Beauty Services  e.g. beauticians, hair and makeup artists (26 per cent)
  5. Venue Services (25 per cent)


Harris added: “Apart from a few service groups such as hotels and accommodation services, response rates are surprisingly poor, and this represents a huge opportunity for service providers – if they could improve their response times and be more attentive to customers contacting them via email, then they would make big gains on their competitors in the online economy.”