While Phone and Email Are Flat, Live Chat Speeds Have Improved in 2014

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Strategies for delivering the highest level of customer care are being finalized as retailers brace for the holiday rush. And, it seems live chat has potential to be a great asset for customers and customer care teams alike.

StellaService data comparing February through July of 2013 and 2014 shows the speed of customer service is nearly identical over phone and email. Looking at a set of 25 top retailers (full list at the end of this article), average time to reach an agent on the phone was 2 minutes 15 seconds in 2013 compared to 2 minutes 17 seconds in 2014. Responses to emails averaged 11.9 hours in 2013 and 11.7 hours in 2014.

While the needle on performance hasn’t moved much in these channels, there has been a notable improvement in the speed of customer care via chat. The average time to reach an agent over chat was about 1 minute 4 seconds in 2013, but has dropped to 40 seconds in 2014.

More and more companies are focusing on chat as it provides an avenue for real-time …

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Last Year, Back-To-School Retailers Delivered Faster in August

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According to the National Retail Federation’s latest Back-to-School/College Surveys, the average family with children in grades K-12 has completed just half (49.9%) of their shopping. That means there’s still time for retailers to grab a share of the expected $50 billion to be spent online for back-to-school items.

The days of loading the brood into the minivan for a trip to the mall to pick out backpacks could be over. Ecommerce obviously provides convenience. And, with several popular retailers enabling schools to upload supplies lists directly to ecommerce sites, back-to-school shopping is potentially easier than ever.

As the countdown is on for dorm move-in and the first day of class, delivery speed becomes more important to consumers. Interestingly, during this high-volume sales season, some retailers actually manage to improve fulfillment and delivery performance.

Looking at last year’s performance we found a set of nine popular back-to-school retailers that all …

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Customers Expect Refunds In Less Than 7 Days This Holiday Season

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The majority of online shoppers expect to get refunds back in one week or less during the holidays. But, StellaService data shows that many of the largest retailers in the country are not meeting these expectations as we head into the holiday shopping season.

In our 2014 Holiday Consumer Survey, 73% of shoppers expect a refund in a week or less during the holiday season. Breaking that 73% down, 39% expect a refund in less than 4 days and 34% expect a refund in 4 to 7 days.

So, how does the actual performance of retailers stack up against these expectations?

Our research team dug into the performance data behind 25 of the largest retailers (complete list of companies is available at the end of this article) and found that overall, average refund speed is not matching up with the expectations of shoppers.

Here’s the breakdown of how fast Top 25 retailers issued refunds from February to July 2014:

  • 8% issued refunds in less than 4 days
  • 20% issued refunds in 4 to 7 days
  • 64% issued …

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Postal Service Plays A Role In One-Third of Ecommerce Deliveries

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By Jake Novick, Senior Research Associate, StellaService

The U.S. Postal Service plays a much bigger role in the success of ecommerce than many industry watchers realize.

While the Postal Service remains in the scrutiny of the public eye – posting $2 billion in losses last quarter alone — there is a bit of a bright spot that may foretell its place in the future – carrying packages the last mile for the larger carriers like UPS and FedEx. As ecommerce continues to balloon, getting parcels to customers’ doors in a timely manner has become vital component to a great shopping experience.

In the past, we have highlighted some retailers who are using carrier service upgrades to ensure speedy delivery to all regions of the country regardless of the location of distribution centers. However, less attention has been paid to the role of the USPS, which some view as a relic of ecommerce delivery. At first glance you might be right – StellaService data indicates that only …

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Consider These 3 Ecommerce Customer Service Holiday Stats

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The ecommerce world is busy preparing for the 2014 holiday rush. To get a better understanding of shopper expectations this holiday shopping season, we conducted a survey of 500 respondents from August 8 to 15, 2014 using Google Consumer Surveys.

The results are in, and here are a few points to consider when planning for the holiday deluge:

  • Just 5% of shoppers say they’ll return to shop from a company that gave them bad service during the holidays
  • 49% of respondents are likely or very likely to buy online and pick up in store this holiday season
  • 53% of respondents said that Email is the preferred communication channel during the holidays, with phone coming in second (28%)

This is a snapshot of the survey results. Stay tuned as we’ll be diving in and looking at the results by age, gender and geographic region of the U.S., and stacking those results up against the true performance data of the largest retailers.

To get the complete results, join us August 26 for a live …

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