With online shopping growing in popularity and big box retailers closing stores to cater to the internet-using customer, one would think that online customer service would also be improving. Unfortunately, the opposite result was found, with customer service questions being fully answered only 46 percent of the time, according to a recent survey.
STELLAService, a customer service analytics company, had a team of mystery shoppers send 1,125 emails to 25 of the largest U.S. retailers asking simple questions like, "Can accessories be returned to stores?" or if certain clothes are available in specific sizes.
"In general, a lot of companies have a lot of pressure on their support team to get things done quickly, STELLAService CEO Jordy Leiser said to Mashable. "The volume of customer service questions they get gives them an overwhelming feeling that there will always be more to do."
According to Leiser, the extra pressure to perform forced many companies to encourage employees to answer questions with links to a FAQ page or other website indexes. It is an unhelpful tactic, she said, to force customers to find the answers themselves.
The best performing company was L.L.Bean, answering 88.9 percent of its email inquiries completely. The top five were rounded out with Gap, Zappos, Victoria's Secret and Tiger Direct. These businesses scored high as they answered questions in extraordinary detail, and even supplied links to other stores if they did not have what a customer desired.
Larger companies did not necessarily offer better customer service, Leiser said. In fact, smaller businesses oftentimes were able to establish better personal relationships with their customers.
By pairing with a third party answering service businesses can rest assured that customer inquiries will be answered accurately, with the right amount of detail and in a way that ensures a quality relationship is established. These professionals are adept at proper online customer service and will ensure that consumer questions will not go unanswered.