Mutual fund companies do not respond effectively to customer e-mail inquiries, according to a study soon to be released by kasina, an e-commerce consulting company of New York.

The study was conducted between November 2000 and January 2001 and will be released March 12, according to kasina. It is based on data gathered from 200 mutual fund companies, according to kasina.

Even though 84 percent of mutual fund companies accept inquiries via e-mail, only 46 percent of them respond to the inquiries they receive, the study found.

"We've seen a considerable improvement in fund company customer service on the Web over the past two years,"said Michael Sellitto, a consultant at kasina. "In 1998, only eight percent of mutual fund companies responded to e-mail inquiries within two days. Today, that number has jumped to 87 percent."

However, mutual fund companies need not only better respond to customer e-mail inquiries but also use new technology to attract more customers, said Sellitto.

"Mutual fund companies must embrace technologies such as artificial intelligence, live online chats and customer relationship management software to efficiently build a better relationship with current and prospective customers," he said.

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