July 1, 2014, 4:54 PM

L.L. Bean is the top performer in May customer service measures

The apparel cataloger took first place overall in StellaService’s newly upgraded monthly customer service benchmarks.

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L.L. Bean Inc. ranked first overall for customer service in May, based on results of daily evaluations of web retailers conducted by StellaService.

In May, the retailer was fourth in phone support, sixth in e-mail response time, eighth in chat response and fourth in returns, as reported in the StellaService Benchmarks Top 25 report, available free to consumers and merchants.

L.L. Bean is a consistent top performer, placing first overall in March as well, and second in February, according to StellaService data.

The customer service measurement company expanded its ratings service early last year to include competitive analysis of retailers’ competitors, for which StellaService charges its merchant customers. The monthly rankings were expanded last week to include live chat, and grew from five to the top 25 performers, culled from data gathered on all 130 of the top web retailers in the U.S. that StellaService tracks. Stella Benchmarks is based on daily customer service evaluations and four orders per month.

“The biggest change is that we are including all companies under daily evaluation,” says director of content Ty McMahan. “It used to be only companies with at least $100 million in annual web sales, but now we include all of the companies in our database.” Most of the companies StellaService monitors exceed that web sales threshold, he says.

When StellaService launched in 2010, its goal was to provide online shoppers practical data about how fast they would receive orders from web retailers, McMahan says. For merchants, measurements show performance against internal goals as well as how they fare against their competitors. Top performers can display a StellaService seal of approval if they reach a certain overall score.

Other top performers in the May measuring period are listed below:

  • Chat. Bodybuilding.com, the top performer in May, connected customers to a live agent in 14 seconds on average. The average total time it took for a StellaService “shopper” to reach a live customer service agent for the Top 25 performers was 19 seconds in May.
  • Shipping. HauteLook, a part of Nordstrom, averaged 2.3 days to deliver a product. The Top 25 performers averaged 3.2 days.
  • Returns and refunds. MrPorter.com, an upscale menswear retailer that’s part of the Net-a-Porter Group, had the fastest refund processing time, averaging 5.5 days. The top 25 performers together averaged 8.4 days in May.
  • Phone support. Two merchants, Bodybuilding.com, part of Liberty Interactive Corp., and LuLuLemon Athletica Inc. tied at the top of the phone support rankings. This ranking combines the time it takes for a live agent to answer a call as well as less precise measures such as issue resolution and stellar (above and beyond the call of duty) performance. The average total time to a live agent was 40 seconds.
  • E-mail support. LuLuLemon topped the rankings for e-mail response. Like phone support, the ranking combines the time it takes for a retailer to answer an e-mail, as well as less precise measures such as issue resolution and stellar performance. The average e-mail response time for the top 25 in May was 5.2 hours.
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