These 19 Retailers Are Keeping Customers Informed During the Refund Process


Keeping customers guessing is a good way to keep them from coming back.

And, surprisingly, many retailers fail to keep customers fully informed throughout the returns and refunds process.

As part of its ongoing measurement of customer service practices, StellaService tracks notifications sent to StellaService Analysts during the returns process. In 2014 to date, 19 companies included in StellaService’s coverage set have provided notifications for every return. It’s an admirable accomplishment and it will be interesting to see how many of the retailers will stay consistent throughout the remainder of the year.

The most common communications received by StellaService Analysts are:

  • Product is en route back to the warehouse
  • Product was received at the warehouse/Return was processed
  • Notice of no need to return item to receive a full or partial refund or credit
  • Refund/credit is being processed or is complete
  • Notification of an issue with the refund or credit
  • Refund/credit amount …

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StellaService Report: Essential Holiday Ecommerce Data & Best Practices

Today we’re excited to release our Q3 2014 report, Essential Holiday Ecommerce Data & Best Practices. As more consumers are turning to the ease of online shopping, the stakes are rising for ecommerce retailers during the holiday shopping season. This report, available in full here, provides a snapshot of 2013 holiday performance, what service levels consumers expect for holiday performance in 2014 and how retailers are trending into those expectations as the holidays approach. The report covers the following areas:

2013 Holiday Performance
Failure to meet Christmas cutoff shipping guarantees left gift-givers empty handed and call centers flooded. After a disappointing Holiday 2013, shoppers are more attuned to delivery speed and accuracy than ever and meeting promised holiday cutoff dates has never been so important. Just 11% of consumers will shop with a retailer again if a holiday shipping guarantee isn’t met.

2014 Holiday Consumer Survey
Customers are more emotional …

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Being Nice to Customers Pays for Ryan Air


In September 2013 Ryan Air announced a newfound dedication to customers in part due to shareholder complaints about the impact of poor customer service on the company’s revenue.

The airline, notorious for poor customer service and an outspoken CEO, has seen a boost in several key operational metrics since the announcement. Passenger volumes are up for the airline, which flew a record 9.4 million passengers in August — a 4% increase year-over-year. Additionally the planes have been 93% full, whereas last year that number was 89%.

Ryan Air’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs attributes the increases in part to an improved “customer experience.”

According to the airline, customer-facing improvements include seat assignments, less stringent bag restrictions, reduced fees and easier booking restrictions. Tech investments include a website overhaul and the launch of a mobile app. And catering to a new customer segment, Ryan Air has introduced business class in …

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Product Knowledge Gap Reveals Opportunity for Multi-Brand Retailers


The old phrase “straight from the horse’s mouth” supposedly originated in horse racing circles, indicating that the knowledge came from the source closest to the situation (the horse, of course). One of the earliest printed versions of the phrase was in a May 1913 edition of the Syracuse Herald.

“I got a tip yesterday, and if it wasn’t straight from the horse’s mouth it was jolly well the next thing to it,” the paper read.

When it comes to customer service, it’s no surprise that product knowledge is stronger when it comes “straight from the horse’s mouth,” or rather, the manufacturer of the product.

StellaService data shows that across Phone, Email and Chat, brand manufacturers provide superior Product Knowledge to online shoppers. In fact, brands that sell direct to consumers average 5% better Product Knowledge than multi-brand retailers when considering all product categories.

Interestingly, the gap in Product Knowledge between brands …

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Stella Benchmarks: Strong Performance Across All Service Areas Drives L.L.Bean to No. 1


Photo courtesy L.L.Bean Bootmobile on Twitter.

Phone calls. Emails. Live chats. Deliveries. Returns. Regardless of the service area, L.L.Bean provided a level of customer service across all channels in July that was among the best in the U.S.

And, it’s nothing new for the Maine-based apparel and outdoor gear retailer. This is the third month in 2014 that L.L.Bean has topped the overall rankings in Stella Benchmarks.

In July, L.L.Bean ranked 6th in Phone, 12th in Email, 7th in Chat, 16th in Shipping and 6th in Returns. It was that high level of performance across all channels that pushed the retailer to the top of the overall rankings.

“Many retailers choose to sacrifice performance in one area to excel at another,” said Kevon Hills, StellaService Vice President of Research. “L.L.Bean takes a holistic approach to service and they truly strive to be the best in every service area.”

Of course, there’s always opportunity to improve. In the month of July, L.L.Bean managed to …

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