E-mail response may come now, later or not at all

If you want to e-mail Sears with a question about the company, you can expect a quick reply. But the same e-mail to Intel or IBM might never get an answer, according to a recent survey of the e-mail response times from the nation's Fortune 100 corporations.

The survey, conducted for Brightware, a Novato, Calif., company that makes customer-response software, said that Sears responded to an e-mail query about how to contact the company's president in nine minutes, 44 seconds.

The same question was answered by Bell Atlantic in 11 minutes, 22 seconds.

Among the slowest was Coca-Cola, which took 14 days to answer the question.

But the most surprising finding came in the high-tech sector, which might be expected to be the most e-mail savvy. According to the survey, companies that did not reply to the e-mail within a month included Motorola, MCI WorldCom, IBM, Intel, AT&T, Dell Computer, Lucent Technologies and Electronic DataSystems.

Fifty percent of the Fortune 100 did not have a simple e-mail link through their Web sites. Instead they required four or more clicks or the filling out of extensive forms with personal information. Ten companies had no e-mail links at all.

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)


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