Average Refund Speed Dips Below 10 Days For Largest Retailers

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January is a month where many consumers are looking for refunds from the holiday shopping season.

In a study of the refunds performance of 40 of the largest online retailers, StellaService found that the majority of retailers evaluated aren’t meeting consumer expectations.

For orders placed in Q4 2014, the average speed to receive a refund from the companies evaluated was 9.5 days.

To get a better understanding of shopper expectations during the 2014 holiday shopping season, StellaService conducted a survey of 500 respondents from August 8 to 15, 2014 using Google Consumer Surveys. The majority of consumers said they expect a refund in 7 days or less.

The good news is that retailers are moving closer to those expectations. The same group of retailers were about a day slower issuing refunds over the same time period last year.

“Returns and refunds can’t be overlooked,” said Kevon Hills, StellaService vice president of research. “An easy returns and refunds experience can …

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These Retailers Are Making the Returns Process Simple

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Returning an online order to a retailer shouldn’t feel like a major chore.

In this busy season of holiday returns, StellaService studied which retailers make the process painless for customers. StellaService Analysts ordered the same product from 40 of the largest online retailers to be delivered to four separate regions – East, West, Midwest and South. They then returned the product, tracking metrics such as the presence of a prepaid return label and free returns.

StellaService found that 60% of the Top 40 always provided a prepaid return label. This included retailers who charged for the label, as well as those who do not include the label in the box itself. Whatever the cost or delivery method to the shopper, these retailers always made a prepaid label available in Q4.

Of the Top 40, 25% always provided free returns. Again, this includes those retailers whose label was in the box, as well as those who required the shopper to go online and print one out. Whatever the delivery …

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Regulators Fine Irish Airline For Bad Customer Service

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Regulators in Italy are telling companies that bad customer service is going to cost them.

Irish airline Ryanair said Tuesday it would fight a $637,000 fine handed down from Italy’s anti-trust body for running customer service lines that charged premium rates but rarely resolved passengers’ problems.

The fine follows a June 2014 allegation that the budget airline made it extremely difficult to reach employees to discuss bookings.

AGCM, the anti-trust body imposing the fine, said most of the complaints it had received were from people who found it difficult and unreasonably expensive to obtain reimbursements or alternative flights in the event of cancellations.

Regulators acknowledged that Ryanair had partly addressed some of the issues, including getting rid of a premium phone number for passengers requiring assistance with boarding, reducing the cost of its main customer service line and introducing customer support via online chat. These steps were not deemed sufficient …

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4 Ways to Amp Up Your Customer Satisfaction in 2015

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This guest post comes from George Skaff, CMO of TouchCommerce, which provides omni-channel engagement solutions for brands such as Comcast, DirecTV and Intuit.

The ways consumers prefer to interact with brands has changed drastically throughout the years. If your business doesn’t adapt to serving customers the way they want to be served, you will get left behind. In fact, a survey by American Express has shown 78 percent of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. Here are four strategies for retail organizations to consider for ramping up their customer service and shopper satisfaction in the coming year:

Enable and Encourage Self-Service

Many customers would be happy to self-serve given the right tools. According to the 2014 Nuance Enterprises Study, 67 percent of customers contacting call centers prefer self-service over phone calls. Also, in a recent internal analysis conducted by TouchCommerce with data …

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IBM Study Identifies Consumer Expectations In Online Shopping

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Nearly half of shoppers now prefer to do their shopping online, according to a recent IBM Institute for Business Value study on changes in consumer expectations.

The study, which collected and analyzed more than 110,000 responses from global surveys since 2011, sought to identify what shoppers expect when shopping online and what retailers can do to better meet these expectations.

Three major consumer shifts were identified:

  1. A growing preference to shop online.
  2. More openness to communicate with retailers and the importance for well-tailored messaging.
  3. Expectations that digital benefits will cross over into physical stores.

Growing preference for online shopping

One metric measured in the study was shoppers’ “perceived convenience.” While in-store purchasing is still preferred by most shoppers, online delivery has jumped in preference from 23% of shoppers in 2011 to 36% of shoppers in 2014. This shift introduces a “new range of non-traditional competitors that present …

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These Retailers Fulfilled Orders Same-Day During the Holiday Rush

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If a retailer wants to set itself up for a successful, swift delivery, same-day fulfillment is definitely the goal. The sooner that order is on a truck bound for the customer, the greater the chance that customer will be delighted.

So, let’s talk about the retailers with an impressive same-day fulfillment performance in December.

In its annual study of retailers’ ability to deliver packages in the twilight of the holiday shopping season, StellaService placed four orders for 40 of the largest retailers, one to each region – East, Midwest, South and West. All orders were placed on the advertised Christmas cutoff date. If the cutoff date was not stated, StellaService Analysts calculated the date based on the delivery estimate for standard shipping or free expedited shipping. Happy Customer previously reported those companies that successfully delivered by Christmas.

Taking the evaluation a step further, we found 10 companies that fulfilled all orders same-day:

  • Apple
  • Best Buy
  • Dell

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