While measuring customer service at brick & mortar stores appears second nature to many, STELLAService rating system measuring customer service online analyzes four service areas: phone support, e-mail support, shipping performance and returns/refunds performance. In July, JCrew.com ranked first.
The following is a brief description of the defining metrics of the four service areas and JCrew.com's July rankings:
- Phone support: The service area grade is based on 12 distinct metrics such as speed of answer, product knowledge and professionalism, including whether representatives were engaged, interested, respectful and courteous. JCrew.com ranked first across all 100 retailer websites STELLAService tracks with a particularly strong score for issue resolution and professionalism. Among stores in the Apparel/Accessories sub-category, LLBean.com ranked fastest among all retailers at connecting customers to a live agent and came in second overall.
- Email support: The grade is based on 15 metrics such as response time, grammar and spelling and first e-mail resolution. It also analyzes how well representatives answered a question, and if their replies were personalized and expressed empathy. In the Apparel/Accessories sub-category, JCrew.com came in second behind LLBean.com, which answered e-mails on average 10 minutes faster than any of the other 100 retailers.
- Shipping performance: Measures include delivery time, package fit and product accuracy. Points are added for overnight shipping, free shipping and in-store pick-up. JCrew.com, tied for third in its sub-category with Gap.com, particularly benefited by improving its average time to deliver packages by two full days from June.
- Returns/Refunds performance: Return notification time, processing time and e-mail communication are among the metrics measured, as well as the availability of free return shipping, pre-paid return label in package, and in-store returns. In the Apparel/Accessories category, JCrew.com was tied for second alongside LLBean.com and EddieBauer.com. Net-A-Porter.com ranked first because it processed refunds more than a day faster than its closest competitor in the vertical.
Across all 100 retailers STELLAService tracks in its survey, the top ten for July were:
High online customer service levels, however, don't appear to be a huge driver of loyalty with consumers. Of STELLAService's top ten performers, only three—LBean.com (14), Zappos (20) and Nordstrom (24)—made STORES Magazine's just-released annual Favorite 50 Online Retailers survey.
STORE's top-10 favorite retailers, based on a survey of 5,600 consumers, were: Amazon.com, Walmart.com, eBay.com, Kohls.com, BestBuy.com, Target.com, JCPenney.com, Macys.com, Sears.com and OldNavy.com.