The 7 Best Retailers for Customer Service

In today’s omnichannel climate where differentiation is increasingly difficult and customer expectations are heightened, customer service is critical for delivering differentiated shopping experiences. The "20th Annual Mystery Shopping Study" recognizes seven retailers who excel in customer service.

The study found these retailers through an assessment of “must-have” website features and behavior based on engagement with available touchpoints. These retailers have scored highest in four critical areas, including visibility, overall customer service, speed of delivery and efficiency of checkout.

“Service is the quickest route to retention. Shoppers expect efficiencies, accessible information, competency and timely information that allows for quick decision-making, avoiding any obstacles along the customer journey,” said Lauren Freedman, SVP of Digital Strategy at Astound Commerce. “In today’s challenging retail environment where short term thinking often prevails, we hope retailers remain vigilant in their customer service investment and execution.”

Conducted in Q4 of 2016 by the e-tailing group, an Astound Commerce company, the survey analyzed 100 of the top retailers’ customer service experiences, and eliminated retailers that failed to offer seven “must have” features on their website. Retailers that ranked in the top seven had a combination of efficient and streamlined logistics, responsive and helpful customer service capabilities, and an efficient and effective digital experience.
The top customer service performers (in alphabetical order) are:
  •     B&H
  •     Gap
  •     L.L. Bean
  •     Lancome
  •     Moosejaw
  •     The Home Depot
  •     Zappos

Other notable findings:

  • FAQs are a time-saver for shoppers and were found on 92% of sites.
  • Skyrocketing mobile usage supports the creation of efficiencies in one’s shopping cart. Retailers are gravitating to collapsible carts (35% this study vs. 26% in the last study) and unilaterally pre-populated customer information where steps to checkout are often higher despite these evolved approaches.
  • The average number of clicks to checkout was found to be 5.23
  • The average number of business days shoppers receive an item shipped was found to be 3.45
  • PayPal continues to see faster adoption by retailers (83% vs. 74%)
  • Retailers are investing in live chat where the overall experience is on par with 2015.  Proactive chat, which may offer retailers an important conversion opportunity, saw strong overall customer experience gains rising to 2.71 in 2016 up from 2.38 in the prior year.
  • Amazon’s had a 6-minute turnaround time in providing accurate answers to emailed questions.
  • Free online returns continue to play a greater role for more retailers as over 1 in 4 provided this benefit, up from 20% last year.