You don’t have to approve of the tremendous shift to Internet retailing. Many people simply aren’t comfortable with technology. In fact, many will never come around. However, you have to admit that the transition has been very successful, unusually rapid and appears destined to continue its rapid growth. Millions have made the move for a variety of realistic reasons … cheaper prices, free shipping, faster service and delivery, larger selection, no sales pressure, easy payment procedures, and detailed and clear information about what is being offered.
While there are many differences between shopping online and visiting your local brick and mortar location, there are also many similarities. One of the most crucial parallels is the need for outstanding customer service leading to long-term customer loyalty! Those currently neglecting an online identity must learn this lesson as well—and quickly—before losing their current audience to the many online entities evolving daily.
On line or in person, speed seems to be emerging as a critical element of good customer service. How quickly someone picks up a customer’s call or writes them back is essential in today’s competitive marketplace.
A new study points out some fairly big disparities in customer response times among the Internet’s top 100 retailers. The difference between being the fastest and the slowest can be a matter of minutes on hold or days waiting for a emailed reply. The study was conducted by STELLAService, which used a network of full-time mystery shoppers to evaluate each site, making more than 1,200 interactions via phone and email.
Their study found that consumers have a lot of choices and being fast or slow could be the difference between whether someone who tries your site comes back again or goes elsewhere.
According to the study, 31 of the top 100 retailers clocked in with average hold times of less than one minute, with the average time to reach a live agent being 1 minute, 41 seconds. The longest hold times occurred on Mondays and Fridays; Sunday was the easiest day to reach a live representative. Out of the top 100 Internet retailers, 80% offer call support on Sunday.
DisneyStore.com ranked among the top 10 for both speediest email support (1:47:40) and phone support (12 seconds).
Of the top 100 retailers, the ten companies with the shortest average call hold times are:
- SierraTradingPost.com (6 seconds)
- YOOX.com (11 seconds)
- DisneyStore.com (12 seconds)
- UrbanOutfitters.com (17 seconds)
- Grainger.com (21 seconds)
- Nordstrom.com (21 seconds)
- Fingerhut.com (23 seconds)
- MarketAmerica (25 seconds)
- LLBean.com (25 seconds)
- Cabelas.com (27 seconds)
The 10 companies with the quickest average email response times are:
- OfficeDepot.com (48 minutes)
- MusiciansFriend.com (58 minutes, 40 seconds)
- Diapers.com (1:23:48)
- DisneyStore.com (1:47:40)
- Abercrombie.com (1:50:45)
- USAutoParts.net (3:38:00)
- Gilt.com (4:43:00)
- PCMall.com (4:49:48)
- Kohls.com (5:02.00)
- Coldwatercreek.com (5:06:10)
Are you even aware how long your employees take to answer your phone or to reply to a customer e-mail? If so, how do you rate against the very best as listed above? If you don’t know, you’d better find out. It could be crucial to your future success!