New Stella Benchmarks Includes Top 25, L.L.Bean Tops Rankings

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Stella Benchmarks received a fresh look in its most recent release, but there’s a familiar retailer topping the rankings.

L.L.Bean had the overall best customer service performance in May, the second time the retailer has topped the list in the past three months. The retailer’s performance was strong in nearly every area — 4th in Phone, 6th in Email, 8th in Chat and 4th in Returns/Refunds.

Companies that have ranked in the Overall Top 25 every month since January include: Fab, J.Crew, L.L.Bean, Net-A-Porter, Ralph Lauren, Shopbop and Zappos.

Stella Benchmarks are designed to provide consumers with guidance for smarter shopping and retailers with an independent, reliable benchmark for measuring and improving customer service.

Since launching in November 2012, only companies with $100 million in revenue qualified for the rankings across four service areas: Phone, Email, Shipping and Returns/Refunds. Starting in June 2014, showing data from May 2014, all companies evaluated on …

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Sears, Dell, Microsoft CSRs Most Likely to Offer to Complete Transaction

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By Jake Novick, Senior Research Associate, StellaService

One of the mantras we preach here at StellaService is that retailers should view their customer care centers as more than just a black hole for costs. Not only can they be the center of “wow” experiences for customers, a la Lululemon, but also they are the front line contact for many shoppers who are just a few clicks away from making purchases online. Some retailers are taking advantage of this face time with customers by encouraging their agents to offer to complete a transaction for the shopper. Whether it be providing them with a direct phone number to call and complete the sale, or offering a free trial for a “VIP” program.

We began collecting this metric, called “Offered to Complete Transaction” (“OCT”), across all three customer support channels (Phone, Email and Live Chat) in February 2014. We define this as any suggestion made by a CSR that would lead to the transaction of money.

For the past four …

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Love Your Customer and They’ll Love You Back

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This guest post is by J.R. Yates, CEO and Founder of Titanium-Jewelry.com, a StellaService Excellent-rated online jewelry retailer.

We love our customers. We love helping them find the perfect wedding ring. And in some cases our customers love us back and want to show it. That makes everything we do worthwhile.

How do we get our customers to love us back? It requires us to jump through hoops on occasion. Customers ask us to do crazy things sometimes. Like the guy who decided to get married on Friday and needed his ring by Thursday evening, and ordered his wedding band Wednesday afternoon – after UPS picks up. But we made sure to get it there.

Sometimes it’s not quite as involved as getting a wedding ring to a customer in 24 hours. Sometimes the customer needs us to extend her 90-day return privilege. Done. The fellow who needs a Hallmark card put in the package with a special hand written message. Check. The folks who ask us to snap a quick picture of the ring on our finger and …

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Cost-Efficient Tips For Using the Web as a Service Tool

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Jordy Leiser is CEO and Co-founder of StellaService.

It’s no secret that delivering the type of personalized, world-class customer service that can lead to invaluable, long-term customer loyalty requires a strong commitment. Luckily, this commitment may be less of a financial burden than you may think.

In the era in which a shopper can do a quick Google search to find a product’s price from a dozen different retailers, developing a reputation for delivering excellent service can be the deciding factor in converting prospective customers. E-retailers can make customer service a point of distinction without necessarily having large budgets and complicated technology. In some cases, all it takes is a bit of creativity and a commitment to quality service.

Many retailers, some with a lot of loyal customers, have devised ways to be cost-efficient in their service operations while still delighting the customer. Here are a few cost-effective tips to get started, all inspired by …

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For Contact Center Health, Get Your Baseline Performance Checked

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You walk into the doctor’s office and ask, “Doc, am I healthy?”

Before you get an answer, the doctor is going to conduct a few basic measurements that will guide his assertion of your overall health, for instance weight, blood pressure and cholesterol level.

The overall health of your contact center must go through the same process. And, StellaService calls this type of check-up “Baseline Performance.”

Baseline Performance is essentially a rollup of several vital metrics that can provide a quick understanding of whether or not a more thorough examination is necessary.

Below is an overview of the metrics considered for Baseline Performance for Phone, Email and Chat. All criteria must be met in order to achieve Baseline Performance.

Phone

  • Issue Resolution – Whether or not the customer’s issue was resolved.
  • Professionalism – The CSR was respectful and courteous.
  • Product/Policy Knowledge - Product/Policy Knowledge is adequate or better.

Email

  • Issue …

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