Best Buy Inc. has eliminated the email contact form on its customer service page, saying it’s instead pouring more resources into live chat.
The option to email the company from the customer service page was pulled last week.
The company told Happy Customer that email is “unable to offer the same level of in-the-moment assistance.” The decision was also influenced by customer feedback, as 20% of respondents to a survey of Best Buy’s online shoppers said they prefer live chat.
It’s worth noting that another major retailer – Apple Inc. – does not offer email support.
Best Buy has also experienced a bump in efficiency with live chat, citing a 36% improvement in contacts handled per hour versus phone support. The company said that has led to a 20% increase in conversions.
Still, STELLAService found that Best Buy’s live chat performance struggled during Black Friday through Cyber Monday, as live chat was listed as unavailable on the site for 95% of attempts. Data was collected by attempting five interactions each day during five separate time blocks. STELLAService also captured screenshots of those failed attempts.
Similarly, just 15% of emails were responded to within 24 hour for the same time period. And the quality of Best Buy’s recent email responses has attracted public criticism.
The electronics retailer has been closely watched this holiday season after customer service woes in 2011. Last holiday season the company angered customers when it waited until days before Christmas to inform them that some orders placed a month earlier would not be fulfilled.
At an analyst and investor conference last month, Best Buy President and Chief Executive Hubert Joly said “the company’s first priority is to continue to improve and evolve the customer experience.”
A lesser emphasis on email and a greater commitment to live chat seems to be part of that strategy.