More than half (51%) of UK businesses need to improve their customer friendliness online and one quarter (25%) are failing to use their online presence to stand out from the competition, according to new research from Moneypenny.
The leading outsourced communications provider conducted a study of 250 websites belonging to businesses in the legal, accountancy, care, dental and estate agency sectors during January 2023, as part of a study into digital customer experience.
The research sought to assess how easy it is to find businesses online, the quality of their first impressions, how easy it is to navigate their websites and find answers, and how contactable and friendly the website is.
While the research showed that UK businesses are strong at: being found – with 86% appearing in first position on Google for their brand name, and for their websites having clear website navigation (66%) and translating well to mobile devices (95%), there is more to be done to improve customer friendliness and how accessible they are.
Three quarters of the websites analysed ranked average or less for being easy to contact. In particular:
- 76% of businesses do not make it easy enough to find a telephone number online even though the phone is king for customers and a web search often precedes a call.
- One third (33%) do not use online web forms to capture enquiries.
- As few as 11% make use of live chat – where visitors can ask questions of a person in real time.
Also, 40% of the websites analysed offer either too much or too little information and the vast majority (81%) are not making use of frequently asked questions to help visitors find the answers they need.
Looking at the different sectors – the research also revealed some interesting comparisons:
- Law firms and estate agents have the least customer friendly sites – while dental and accountancy practices had the most.
- Estate agents are making the best use of live chat.
- Accountancy websites make it the hardest to find the phone number.
- Legal websites make it the most straightforward to get in touch.
Hannah Stringer, Marketing Director at Moneypenny said: “There are some positive and encouraging statistics in this research – but it’s surprising to see that customer friendliness and accessibility could still be improved by the vast majority of UK business websites – especially in the midst of a cost of living crisis when new customers are much harder to win.
“Today’s customers want to access information quickly, and on their terms, which is often outside traditional office hours. A few simple changes to websites could make them work much harder for businesses. By being more distinct, comprehensive, concise, and contactable – websites become more effective at handling enquiries, winning new business and offering the best digital customer experience.”
Established in 2000, Moneypenny is the world’s market leader for Telephone Answering, Live Chat, Outsourced Switchboard, and customer contact solutions. More than 21,000 businesses globally benefit from Moneypenny’s mix of extraordinary people and ground-breaking technology. For more information, visit www.moneypenny.com/uk/
 According to Moneypenny’s Global Customer Trends Report the phone is still consumers’ preferred way to get in touch with a business (35%).