With Changes to Holiday Cut-Off Dates, Communication is Key

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A week before Christmas, retailers continue to make adjustments to their stated dates for guaranteed delivery.

On Tuesday, Macy’s moved their cut-off date from 12/21 to 12/22, offering 2-day complimentary shipping. Also, Under Armour, which had yet to provide a stated cut-off date, announced that orders placed by 1 p.m. on 12/18 are guaranteed for delivery by 12/24.

Amazon announced that it is extending free shipping on orders placed by 12/19 and guarantees delivery before the Christmas holiday. Prime members can order by Dec. 22 and, for the truly last-minute shoppers, customers in 12 major metro areas can choose from as many as a million eligible items for same-day delivery. StellaService Analysts first noticed on 12/2 a posted cut-off date of 12/19 for Amazon’s standard delivery option.

Several retailers, such as Nordstrom, released helpful, detailed calendars for ordering items items with all shipping options. The retailer lists 12/19 as its cut-off date for standard delivery, …

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Banana Republic Offers Perks For Procrastinators

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Last-minute shoppers are getting special treatment from Banana Republic this holiday season.

The retailer launched today the “Procrastinators Event,” which offers special perks like free shipping to customers in its stores nationwide.

Banana Republic shoppers in 19 stores across New York City, San Francisco and Miami will receive a $25 gift card from shipping service Shyp with any Banana Republic purchase. This credit can be used towards on-demand shipping and gift wrapping.

As an added bonus for shoppers at San Francisco’s flagship store on Grant Avenue, the SoHo location in New York City and the Aventura Mall in Miami: customers can ship their items straight from the store through dedicated Shyp kiosks. Between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. during the event, shoppers can hand their purchases to a Shyp representative straight from the register or shopping bag. Shyp will then make sure it gets wrapped and shipped to the recipient.

In addition to free shipping and gift wrap, the …

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Brooks Brothers Taking a Conservative Approach to Christmas Cut-Off Dates

Brooks Brothers, a consistent strong performer in StellaService evaluations, has been preparing its team for a successful holiday season. Happy Customer had the opportunity to visit with Michael Moseman, Director, Customer Contact Center, about how the company is preparing for the holiday season and its conservative approach to Christmas cut-off dates.

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These Retailers Will Benefit Most From USPS 7-Day Delivery

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The Postal Service is extending delivery services to seven days a week to make sure people receive their holiday packages on time, providing an advantage to those retailers that most frequently use USPS for delivery.

Starting November 17 through Christmas Day, deliveries will be made every single day.

“During the holidays, no carrier makes more deliveries to more places than the Postal Service, and this year, we’re raising the bar with enhanced tracking and Sunday delivery,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in a press release.

Retailers who utilize the post office will be able to deliver packages to shoppers one day faster than packages shipped FedEx Home Delivery/Ground or UPS Ground. Shipping methods that rely on the post office include all USPS methods, UPS Surepost, UPS Mail Innovations, FedEx SmartPost and Newgistics (outsourced vendor). USPS predicts double digit package growth during the holiday season, in the range of 450 to 470 million packages.

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American Consumers More Likely To Broadcast Bad Service Experiences

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While 46% of American consumers say they always tell others about good service experiences, an even greater number say they talk about poor service experiences, according to the American Express 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer.  In fact, 60% said they always share the bad experiences, and they tell nearly three times as many people (an average of 21 people vs. 8 people).

It’s more strong evidence that marketers need a thorough understanding of customer service performance.

“People are going to talk about your service, one way or another, so what do you want them to be saying?” said Kelly Fisher, Senior Vice President, Relationship Care Strategy, American Express. “In an environment where the recommendation of a friend is so important in driving a consumer’s purchasing decisions, creating good service experiences is extremely important.”

Nine in ten consumers say they tell others face-to-face about their service experiences – good or bad, according to the study. …

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American Express: Customers Spend More At Companies With Great Service

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U.S. consumers are rewarding great customer service more than ever, according to the American Express 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer. The survey, which explores consumer attitudes and preferences on customer service, found that outstanding service prompts customers to open both their wallets and their mouths.

More than two thirds of American consumers say they’re willing to spend 14% more on average with a company that they believe delivers excellent service. That compares to 13% in 2012 and 2011, and 9% in 2010, the first year of the American Express survey.

“Good service is good business because it creates impassioned, loyal customers,” Kelly Fisher, Senior Vice President, Relationship Care Strategy at American Express said in a release. “Those engaged customers spend more and share their excitement with others, which often influences their buying decisions. It’s why willingness to recommend a product or company to a friend has become such an important measure for …

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For Holiday Phone Support, Nearly Half of Consumers Expect to Connect in Two Minutes

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If you’re a retailer making customers wait two minutes or more to talk to a customer service representative on the phone, nearly half of consumers find that performance unacceptable.

To get a better understanding of shopper expectations this holiday shopping season, StellaService conducted a survey of 500 respondents from August 8 to 15, 2014 using Google Consumer Surveys.

When asked “How fast do you expect to reach a customer service representative over the phone during the holiday season?” 48% of respondents said they expect to be connected to a CSR in less than two minutes.

Interestingly, retailers’ ability to hit that mark differs across categories. We pulled the average Total Time to Live Agent by category for November through December 2013.

  • Housewares – 54 seconds
  • Apparel – 1 minute, 30 seconds
  • Hardware/Home Improvement – 1 minute, 32 seconds
  • Toys/Hobbies – 1 minute, 41 seconds
  • Beauty – 1 minute, 42 seconds
  • Department Stores – 2 …

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Lowe’s Experiments With Customer Service Robots

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Robots are invading the customer service department.

This holiday season, Lowe’s will introduce two autonomous retail service robots in an Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, California to study how robotics technology can benefit customers and employees.

Called OSHbot, the robots will assist customers to quickly navigate stores by directing them to specific products and providing real-time information about product promotions and inventory. In the coming months, OSHbot will also be able to communicate with customers in multiple languages and remotely connect with expert employees at other Orchard stores to answer specific project questions.

“Using science fiction prototyping, we explored solutions to improve customer experiences by helping customers quickly find the products and information they came in looking for,” Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs said in a release. “As a result we developed autonomous retail service robot technology to be an …

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Jordy Leiser: Learnings From Japan’s Culture of Service

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Jordy Leiser is Co-founder and CEO of StellaService.

We hear about customer-centric companies all the time. From Amex to Zappos, we follow and study and praise the innovators, especially here at StellaService.

But halfway around the world–a 15-hour flight from New York, to be exact–there’s a place where the quality of customer service shocks and awes in ways you wouldn’t imagine, even from the most customer-obsessed companies on American soil.

I’m not talking about any particular company. I’m talking about the entire country of Japan.

The Trip I Did Not Think I Was Taking

I recently got back from my first trip to Japan, and as you may be able to tell, I was blown away. It completely changed my perspective on the industry I work in and the opportunities for the companies I work with.

I booked the trip last-minute, and I knew very little about the country or culture beyond the superficial qualities most Americans pick up from restaurants and movies. …

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Zazzle To Give Away Cars to Team Members Who “Amaze and Inspire” Customer Experiences

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As Zazzle staffs up for the holidays, the custom printed product company is offering a unique incentive to employees who help drive fantastic experiences for customers.

A new car.

“We’re going to be giving away two brand new 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth cars to two people who live up to the challenge of the holiday season and embody the Zazzle spirit with perfect attendance during our busiest weeks,” the company said in a blog post.

Zazzle is hiring more than 650 people across a variety of roles in customer service and operations. It’s encouraging to see a retailer invest in both delivering a high level of customer care and rewarding those who provide that experience.

“We’re looking for customer service representatives who can amaze and inspire our customers,” the post said. “We’re looking for talent who can create one-of-a-kind products in our facilities – everything from digital press management to packaging production using highly technical equipment. We’re focused on …

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