Top Retailers Strengthening Service30 Jan, 2013 By: Doug McPherson
CHICAGO – Online merchants are adding more customer service options and promoting those options on their websites, according to an E-tailing Group study of the top 100 online retailers in late 2012.
The study analyzed:
• How well customer service agents handled telephone inquiries
• Visibility of toll-free numbers
• The time it took to respond to a question via E-mail
• How fast a consumer could checkout
• The time it to deliver an order
The study showed year-over-year improvements across most of the metrics studied. For example, 80 percent of the retailers featured their phone numbers on their home pages versus 75 percent who did so a year earlier. And 77 percent of the retailers showed the stock status of items in consumers’ shopping carts versus 66 percent who did so in 2011.
Retailers are also simplifying the return process, with fewer (15 percent) requiring consumers contact them before initiating a return than in 2011 (22 percent). And slightly more merchants this year, 55 percent versus 51 percent, provide consumers with prepaid shipping labels to simplify return shipping.
The top nine retailers on average responded to customer E-mails in about 3.5 hours versus an average of 21 hours and 42 minutes for the top 100. They also delivered packages within an average of 2.2 business days versus 3.7 for the 100.