The international study, carried out across 14 countries*, shows that word of mouth is far more important than search engines or links for attracting regular users. Nearly twice as many regular users of a web site say that they first found the site through friends or relatives, than through a search engine.
Furthermore, 98 per cent of satisfied users say they would recommend a site to someone they know, compared to only one per cent of dissatisfied users.
Key areas that respondent stated they were particularly unsatisfied with or indifferent towards were:
Regularity of content updates (37 per cent)
Ability to personalise the site (33 per cent)
Quality of search tools (32 per cent)
Download speed (32 per cent)
Arno Hummerston, Head of TNS Interactive Solutions, Worldwide, said: “This study confirms that web site user satisfaction not only encourages repeat use but is essential in driving traffic to the site in the first place. The importance of personal recommendation for attracting loyal users means unsatisfactory sites undermine the opportunity to expand their long-term user base.”
On a more positive note, most companies seem to be getting the basics right. Seventy one per cent of users are happy with site navigation and 69 per cent with user friendliness. And over two thirds of users are satisfied with the exhaustiveness and quality of web site content. (68 per cent and 72 per cent respectively).
Hummerston added: “The research shows that as user demands evolve, companies need to continually strive to understand exactly what satisfies their users, ensuring they regularly visit the site and personally recommend it to third parties.
“Regular users want more than just easy navigation and basic content. They want more personalised information and customisable sites that are relevant to their specific needs. Good search facilities and regularly updated content are key to improving the user experience.”
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