December 18, 2013, 4:35 PM

L.L. Bean tops major web retailers for customer service in November

The Top 500 apparel seller was especially strong in responding quickly to shoppers’ e-mails, StellaService says. L.L. Bean beat out such peers as J. Crew, Sierra Trading Post and Ralph Lauren in the November rankings.

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Apparel seller L.L. Bean Inc. was tops for customer service in November among top online retailers, according to the latest monthly report from StellaService, which measures how well e-retailers provide customer service via e-mail, phone, shipping and returns.

StellaService bases its findings on data it collects by seeking customer service in a variety of ways from the top 100 retailers listed in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide

Since April, L.L. Bean has ranked among the top 10 retailers for customer service, but November is the first month the e-retailer surpassed merchants such as J. Crew Group Inc., which held the top spot from July to September. Ralph Lauren Media LLC ranked No. 1 in October. 

L.L. Bean’s rose largely due to its first-place ranking among all retailers in e-mail responsiveness, with its employees taking an average of 38 minutes to respond to initial e-mails from shoppers.  In the phone category, L.L. Bean also ranked first among apparel/accessories retailers with the fastest time for a live agent to answer a customer’s call (14 seconds) and 100% issue resolution, meaning that L.L. Bean had answers for all the questions Stella Service representatives put to them.

The e-retailer with the best phone score overall across the nine metrics StellaService uses to analyze data was Sierra Trading Post Inc., which also ranked first in the sporting goods/outdoor section.  Bloomingdales.com (owned by Macy’s Inc.) topped the list in returns by issuing refunds in an average of eight days. Sears.com came in first in shipping, averaging less than three days to deliver.

StellaService says the 10 major online retailers with the best customer service overall in November were:

• L.L. Bean, No. 29 in the 2013 Top 500 Guide

• Sierra Trading Post Inc., No. 102

• Ralph Lauren Media LLC, No. 62

• J. Crew Group Inc., No. 56

• Shopbop.com (owned by Amazon.com Inc., No. 1)

• Net-A-Porter Group, No. 91

• Zappos.com (owned by Amazon.com Inc., No. 1)

• Tory Burch LLC, No. 186

• Brooks Brothers, No. 163

• Saks Direct, No. 37

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