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Customer service remains crucial for retailers

The latest eRetail Benchmark results show that exceptional customer service remains a key differential for top performing retail websites.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Customer service remains crucial for retailers

The latest eRetail Benchmark results show that exceptional customer service remains a key differential for top performing retail websites.

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.’

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