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Note: this is the second in a three part series looking at the customer service performance of the top 25 online retailers during the 2011 Black Friday through Cyber Monday weekend. View Part 1 (Phone Support) and Part 3 (Live Chat Support) for a complete view on how the largest online retailers cared for customers during the big shopping holiday.
According to Forrester, 55% of online shoppers use email when attempting to solve a customer service problem. Most consumers expect relatively quick responses to email inquiries. In fact, if you’re shopping online and have a question, what’s the point of sending an email if the company doesn’t get back to you for days? The product, special deal or issue in question may no longer be relevant by the time you get a reply.
To give shoppers a better idea of which stores plan to keep you in the loop and which stores are likely to dismiss your message into the email abyss as you do your online holiday shopping, STELLAService is providing an unprecedented look at the email response rates of the largest online retailers.
While it might seem obvious that retailers would (or should) reply to all emails sent to them by shoppers with questions, it’s far from reality!
These numbers are most likely eye-opening for many people, but they probably resonate when you think back to prior experiences. Did you email any of the large online retailers over the weekend? If so, did they get back to you within a day?
Methodology: Baseline data was collected by emailing each retailer each day (336 total emails) over a 14 day period, from November 1st through November 14th, asking general customer service questions in each email (product questions, shipping or returns information, etc). Black Friday through Sunday data was collected by emailing each retailer four (4) times each day over a three day period, from Friday November 25th to Sunday November 27th. Emails were placed at random during the following time-blocks to generate measurements of service performance that have high reliability and construct validity: 8:00 -11:30am EST; 11:30 – 2:00pm EST; 2:00 – 5:00pm EST; 5:00 – 8:00pm EST; 8:00 – 11:00pm EST.
It’s that time of year again when millions of people, young and old, are racing to prepare for the first day back to school. For many, this is an exciting time, when personal aspirations meet opportunity and anything seems possible.
However, we know that this is also an anxious and nerve-racking time, when the “to-do” list seems to command all the attention. At STELLAService, we understand that students (and parents, of course) have enough to worry about, so we wanted to help by evaluating the Internet’s biggest one-stop shops for hassle-free back-to-school shopping.
We evaluated 15 of the Internet’s leading online retailers, including Amazon, Costco, Walmart, Buy.com, and Overstock.com. We measured the retailers according to six best practices exemplifying both speed and convenience during the back-to-school crunch, including shipping, returns, and payment options.
We’re excited to share these results below:
Costco.com offers the most hassle-free shopping features (6) and outpaces the others when it comes to shipping (see additional information below). Aside from fast shipping, Coscto.com makes it easy to return a product, offering a 90-day return window and no requirement for a Return Merchandise Authorization number (RMA#) should you need to send back any part of your order.
From school supplies to dorm accessories, the convenience of the shopping experience at Costco.com is an A+. We hope you find this information helpful, and feel free to share with us your own back-to-school shopping experiences at retailers beyond these one-stop shops.
Here’s to a successful school year!