Customer Service Boosts Bottom Line

According to the Astound Commerce 20th Annual Mystery Shopping Study, written by Lauren Freedman, conducted in Q4 of 2016 by the e-tailing group, recognizing seven retailers who excel in customer service through an assessment of “must-have” website features and behavior in four critical areas including visibility, overall customer service, speed of delivery, and efficiency of checkout, will reap rewards for retailers through elevated shopper satisfaction, giving a boost to the bottom line.

The survey analyzed 100 of the top retailers’ customer service experiences, and eliminated retailers that failed to offer seven “must have” features on their website. Retailers that ranked in the top seven had a combination of efficient and streamlined logistics, responsive and helpful customer service capabilities, and an efficient and effective digital experience. The top performers include (in alphabetical order):

  • B&H
  • Gap
  • L.L. Bean
  • Lancome
  • Moosejaw
  • The Home Depot
  • Zappos

Lauren Freedman, SVP of Digital Strategy at Astound Commerce, says “… service is the quickest route to retention… (consumers) expect efficiencies, accessible information, competency and timely information… for quick decision-making… in today’s challenging retail environment… short term thinking often prevails… “

The six retailers that received perfect scores for their help or designated customer service section include:

  • Apple
  • B&H
  • Crutchfield
  • DICK’S Sporting Goods
  • Office Depot
  • Tory Burch

While the retailers surveyed have invested in live chat capabilities along with improving traditional customer service options such as email and call centers, responsiveness to customer service queries in several categories, declined when compared to 2015. However, email response time declined by over six hours compared to 2015 (20 hours 17 minutes in 2016 compared to 26 hours 30 minutes in 2015). Five retailers posted response times of less than 30 minutes. Amazon responded in just six minutes. The top five retailers by email response time are:

  • Amazon - 6 minutes
  • Uniqlo - 12 minutes
  • Steve Madden - 17 minutes
  • Staples - 18 minutes
  • Oriental Trading - 25 minutes

Igor Gorin, CEO of Astound Commerce, says “Excellent customer service comes in a variety of forms, from proactively communicating with the customer about their order status, to timely responses to inquiries, to speedy delivery and simple returns… at the top of every retailer’s list should be providing an informative, accessible and reliable experience… “

To view more of the results of the customer service study and the Astound 100, please visit here.

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