Astound Commerce Uncovers the Top Seven Retailers in Customer Service Excellence

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New study ranks the best customer service experiences of the top 100 retailers

Astound Commerce, a leading global digital commerce agency, has released the 20th Annual Mystery Shopping Study, which recognizes seven retailers who excel in customer service through an assessment of “must-have” website features and behavior based on engagement with available touchpoints.

Winning merchants scored highest in four critical areas, including visibility, overall customer service, speed of delivery and efficiency of checkout. The results indicate an investment in customer service will reap rewards for retailers through elevated shopper satisfaction giving a boost to the bottom line.

Conducted in Q4 of 2016 by the e-tailing group, an Astound Commerce company, the survey analyzed 100 of the top retailers’ customer service experiences, and eliminated retailers that failed to offer seven “must have” features on their website. Retailers that ranked in the top seven had a combination of efficient and streamlined logistics, responsive and helpful customer service capabilities, and an efficient and effective digital experience. The top performers include (in alphabetical order):

  •     B&H
  •     Gap
  •     L.L. Bean
  •     Lancome
  •     Moosejaw
  •     The Home Depot
  •     Zappos

“Service is the quickest route to retention. Shoppers expect efficiencies, accessible information, competency and timely information that allows for quick decision-making, avoiding any obstacles along the customer journey,” said Lauren Freedman, SVP of Digital Strategy at Astound Commerce. “In today’s challenging retail environment where short term thinking often prevails, we hope retailers remain vigilant in their customer service investment and execution.”

The study also ranked retailers on their customer service and help destinations. The top six retailers in this area ranked highly for their ability to provide easily accessible information, links to customer service from the home page, visually effective and in-depth information and the use of icons and personnel imagery to brand this location online. The six retailers that received perfect scores for their help or designated customer service section include:

  •     Apple
  •     B&H
  •     Crutchfield
  •     DICK’S Sporting Goods
  •     Office Depot
  •     Tory Burch

Customer Service Response Rates Shift from 2015
While the retailers surveyed have invested in live chat capabilities along with improving traditional customer service options such as email and call centers, responsiveness to customer service queries in several categories declined when compared to 2015. Call center response time increased from 5.8 minutes in 2015 to 6.8 minutes in 2016, and live chat response time increase from 10.2 minutes in 2015 to 12 minutes in 2016.

However, email response time declined by over six hours compared to 2015 (20 hours 17 minutes in 2016 compared to 26 hours 30 minutes in 2015). When measuring response rates for customer service queries via email, five retailers posted response times of less than 30 minutes. Amazon responded in just six minutes. Here are the top five retailers by email response time:

  •     Amazon - Six minutes
  •     Uniqlo - 12 minutes
  •     Steve Madden - 17 minutes
  •     Staples - 18 minutes
  •     Oriental Trading - 25 minutes

“Excellent customer service comes in a variety of forms, from proactively communicating with the customer about their order status, to timely responses to inquiries, to speedy delivery and simple returns,” said Igor Gorin, CEO of Astound Commerce. “Not only does our research show which retailers are excelling and which are lagging behind, but it also provides insights on key trends for retailers who are considering new investments in customer service capabilities. At the top of every retailer’s list should be providing an informative, accessible and reliable experience. Doing so will elevate customer satisfaction and bolster the retailer’s bottom line.”

To view more of the results of the customer service study and the Astound 100, click here.

About Astound Commerce
Astound Commerce is an award-winning global digital commerce agency combining strategy, technology, insight and a proven methodology to deliver exceptional omnichannel experiences. Through a forward-looking, goal-oriented approach to digital solutions, Astound Commerce helps elevate online and mobile experiences and effectively transform businesses for global brands such as Adidas, L’Oreal, Under Armour, Jimmy Choo and Timbuk2. Based in San Francisco, the passionate team of more than 600 dedicated, diverse industry and technology experts has 15 years of ecommerce experience and more than 1,000 implementations under their belt to address the complex challenges, advancing technologies and indigenous marketing needs facing international markets. To learn more, visit

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Rachel Gulden
Walker Sands Communications
+1 312-267-0530
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