January 31, 2012, 12:50 PM

Nine retailers cited for top customer service

Ease of checkout and fast fulfillment push them to top of E-tailing Group study.

Lead Photo

E-tailing Group president Lauren Freedman.

Fulfilling orders within three days, quickly responding to customer e-mail and keeping checkout to within five clicks were cited as characteristics of nine online retailers rated tops for customer service in a study of 100 e-retailers by research and advisory firm The E-tailing Group Inc.

“These merchants understand that customers gravitate to sites with front-end efficiency and back-end speed in support and logistics,” E-tailing Group president Lauren Freedman says. “Delivering a swift online shopping experience has become the ticket to retention.”

The firm’s 14th Annual Mystery Shopping Study, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2011, cited the following nine merchants with their overall customer service rating (with 3 the highest rating), length of time (hours and minutes, where applicable) to respond to customer e-mail, the number of clicks from product selection through checkout, and the number of business days from order to delivery:

● Ballard Designs, 3.00; 23 hours, 10 minutes; 4, 3

● Tiffany & Co., 3.00; 18 hours, 44 minutes; 5, 3

● Williams-Sonoma, 3.00, 52 minutes, 4, 2

● Wine.com, 3.00; 1 hour, 54 minutes; 5, 2

● Zappos.com, 3.00; 22 hours, 40 minutes; 3, 2

● Garnet Hill, 2.50, 28 minutes, 3, 3

● Green Mountain Coffee, 2.50; 5 hours, 9 minutes; 5, 3

● The Home Depot, 2.25; 1 hour, 1 minute; 5, 3

● Frontgate, 2.00, 4 hours, 3, 3

By comparison, the study notes that the 100 retailers had an average e-mail response time of 31 hours and 27 minutes, an average of 4.83 clicks from product selection through checkout, and an average of 3.43 business days from order to delivery.

Tiffany is No. 118 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, Williams-Sonoma No. 25, Wine.com No. 239, Green Mountain Coffee No. 99, The Home Depot No. 43. Zappos is a unit of Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Top 500 Guide.

Freedman will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in a session entitled “What shoppers want: Listening in on the consumer voice.

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