Customer Service Remains Cucial for Retailers

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The latest eRetail Benchmark results show that exceptional customer service remains a key differential for top performing retail websites, as pure play ‘etailer’ Figleaves tops the overall league table with outstanding telephone and email customer contact. Despite experiencing the same delivery problems as many retailers in the run up Christmas, Figleaves managed to maintain a high level of customer contact, keeping shoppers updated and boosting overall satisfaction.

The study, from eDigitalResearch, assesses the entire end to end customer journey, and found that the majority of retailers are maintaining high levels of online customer satisfaction, but many are still plagued with poor customer service scores.

Derek Eccleston, Research Director at eDigitalResearch explains, ‘This year, retailers faced unprecedented obstacles as snow effected online deliveries and operations in the run up to Christmas. What sets apart those that performed well in our study is their customer service, and our results emphasise the importance of not only having an engaging and functional website, but also established backend systems and procedures.

During peak retail periods like this, it is crucial that retailers ensure they are providing helpful and responsive customer contact, reassuring shoppers and updating them on their order. Our feedback clearly highlights that consumers were generally sympathetic and understanding of the situation last December, providing that retailers made an effort to stay in contact, providing dispatch details and tracking options where available.’

The overall delivery results truly highlight the severe disruption that retailers faced in the run up to Christmas. Only four out of the 51 sites benchmarked managed to score 100% for on time deliveries, compared to 38 retailers who managed to achieve the same in the autumn.

Figleaves topped the email contact league table and came a close second for telephone contact, setting industry best practice. They provide responsive and helpful telephone and email customer service, in conjunction with an engaging website that offers stylish and informative product pages, as well as an intuitive shopping basket.

Keyword search and navigation remains the highest performing online sections throughout the study, as retailers begin to incorporate search engine and predictive text and technology into their sites, with 1 in 4 retailers now already offering this.

Derek continues, ‘As we witness the emergence of MEcommerce where consumers are now firmly in control, it is essential that retailers become customer centric, ensuring that the entire end to end journey is seamless and provides everything a customer now expects, including continued investment in online technology, backend operations and emerging platforms.’

Full results and presentation available here: https://ecustomeropinions.com/survey/survey.php?sid=531384686 or login to the benchmarking area of the eDigitalResearch website: http://www.edigitalresearch.com/benchmarking

For further information, contact Lisa Bonczyk on 01489 772920, or email: lisa(dot)b(at)edigitalresearch(dot)com
Notes to editors

Methodology:

  •     An eMysteryShopper survey was conducted to compare the customer journey of 51 UK retail websites. The fieldwork was carried out using the eMysteryShopper Panel of internet users during November 2010 through to January 2011. The benchmark measures included:

o    First Impressions (Homepage)
o    Search – Navigation and Keyword
o    Items Found (Product Pages)
o    Shopping Basket
o    Purchase
o    Registration / Login
o    Delivery
o    Returns / Refunds
o    Customer contact – Telephone
o    Customer contact - Email

About eMysteryShopper:

  •     eDigitalResearch has been undertaking ‘end to end’ eMysteryShopper surveys on the top UK Internet retail sites since Christmas 2000.
  •     With its in-depth research it can benchmark and plot the development of retail websites over the last ten years.
  •     As a result it has an unprecedented level of knowledge, expertise and research data covering the development of some of the top UK internet retail sites.
  •     eMysteryShopper (eMS) provides in-depth and structured study of website usability, functionality, supporting logistics and customer service through our unique panel of profiled UK Internet users. Working under strict Non Disclosure Agreements these profiled individuals are paid to complete ‘end to end’ surveys on selected websites.
  •     eDigitalResearch currently works with over 10,000 profiled UK eMysteryShoppers (surveyors) carrying out end to end usability studies on over 55 sites at any one time. Surveyors all complete strict assessment criteria and operate under stringent quality control and ongoing survey moderation.
  •     eDigitalResearch has the largest ‘norms’ database across the retail sector and is able to offer clients and the market a unique view of what ecommerce shoppers are looking for from an eRetail site.

About eDigitalResearch:
eDigitalResearch is a leading provider of digital market research, enabling customers to make critical business decisions with the benefit of comprehensive consumer insight and informed direction. eDigitalResearch possesses a unique combination of research expertise, marketing background, web technology and knowledge of the cross-channel consumer. As well as providing invaluable research data, the modules of our fully integrated research system - ratings, surveys, panels, communities and forums - can combine to provide holistic analytics and essential market-leading insight. This gives our clients the power, confidence and backup to make crucial decisions on key aspects of their business including product range, marketing, customer service, supply chain, even basic positioning. http://www.edigitalresearch.com

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Lisa Bonczyk
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