Further to my earlier post on the E-tailing Group study of top 100 etailers based on customer service , the study found that the following etailers are a cut above the rest in terms of customer service: Ann Taylor, Coldwater Creek, HPShopping, Land’s End, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Petsmart, QVC, Restoration Hardware, and Tower Records.
The study then evaluated how these top 10 etailers fared with the criteria they set, and below are some of the very interesting findings:
- The average time to respond to customers’ email is 26 hours, while the top 10 responds relatively faster at 11.1 hours (with 1 out of the top 10 does not bother to respond at all)
- The average number of days to receive a package among the top 100 is 4.4 days, while the top 10 average is 2.8 days
- 92% of sites offer shipping status to their customers
- Only 36% provide first time users with shopping tips on their sites
- 25% offer live help
- Average number of clicks to checkout is 4.8
- 95% offer toll free phone number
- 56% offer recommendations in the shopping cart
- 71% provides a guarantee
The above tells me that there exists a tremendous opportunity for small online businesses to level the playing field with the big etailers with regards to customer service. While big etailers have the financial and technical muscle to outperform the small etailers, there are a number of things that a small etailer can do to provide better customer service, even personal touches, that could delight the customers. Email response, for example, can be made faster resulting in happier customers. Tips on how to use and shop on the site can be put in place, and items can be shipped immediately to be at least on par with the top 10 big etailers.