Study: Email Service Lags At Some Ecommerce Brands

Ecommerce brands may be leaving money on the table by failing to provide robust customer support, especially by email, judging by The State of Ecommerce Customer Service 2021, a study by Simplr and Gladly. 

Of the companies polled, only 40% offer live chat. And 21% fail to provide readily available email support — in fact, 42% are unable to respond to email inquiries in less than 24 hours. 

As for chat, firms that offer it have been unable to resolve service issues 49% of the time 

According to the study, there are two possible reasons for the failure to offer email support:  

1. Poor user experience--Shoppers were instructed to search for an email for at least two minutes. The study notes, “If a website visitor cannot find your email in two minutes, it’s time for a UX refresh.” 

Channel deflection—Some companies may be “fully leaning” into other customer support channels like text messages, social DMs, or live chat. The study concludes, “While having multiple CX channels is always the best strategy, it’s not advisable to exclude email. 

For this study, mystery shoppers submitted a post-sale email. The content in these messages was complex enough so that an auto-generated response would not suffice.  

Here are the times it took companies in each CX category to respond:

  • I never received a response after 24 hours — 355
  • 10-24 hours — 191
  • Under 15 minutes--177 
  • 1-5 hours--156 
  • Greater than 24 hours—135
  • 15 minutes-1 hour—81
  • 5-10 hours—74

Here’s one more statistic: Only 4.5 of companies answered emails in under 15 minutes. 

The results portend poor holiday results for some companies. 

“If ecommerce brands are unable to meet those expectations in August and September, what does that mean for November and December, especially as companies struggle to staff?" said Daniel Rodriguez, Simplr CMO. "This study should act as a warning to ecommerce leaders: Make rapid improvements to your CX programs now, or lose customers in the very near future.

The study adds that firms with a firm grasp on email for customer support have:

  • Active, response live chat to help temper email volume 
  • Proactive outgoing email sequences that address a customer’s order status and prevent inquiries coming in. 
  • Very clear return policy instructions on multiple pages of their websites. 

Simplr and Gladly. researched 1,500 brands.


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