J.Crew Earns Top Marks on Retailer Report Cards
Leading brands typically already do customer service well, so narrowly focused improvements can make a big difference in their overall performance. For J.Crew, the key was reducing average shipping speeds from six days to four. "Sometimes the improvements are small but the overall effect is quality service," said Kevon Hills, StellaService's head of research.
08/23/13 5:00 AM PT
Top brands continue to push the envelope in customer service generally, but that's particularly true in the online sphere.
So reports StellaService, which just this week published new data that ranks the top retailers in terms of customer service performance over the last month.
"Some of these guys are consistently at the top of their category," Kevon Hills, StellaService's head of research, told CRM Buyer. "These are folks that have figured out their formulas long ago -- they know how to answer the phone fast and how to get shipments to the East Coast in three days and how to respond to emails promptly."
What many do now, he continued, is push the envelope to make their service not just high-quality but memorable for customers. As they do so, these companies often set the bar for the rest of the industry, Hills said.
Setting the Bar
Not that these companies typically gain a top slot or remain in the top five for years on end -- although some stalwarts can be found among the top companies year in and year out. Rather, these companies tend to jockey for top positions by making improvements in various aspects of their service, such as improving shipping times or improving email turnaround response times.
"Sometimes the improvements are small but the overall effect is quality service," Hills said.
LLBean, for example, is by far the fastest among retailers at connecting customers to a live agent, but it was edged out for the top overall spot by another retailer: J.Crew, which made improvements in other areas, giving it the overall edge.
Who Did What the Best
J.Crew ranked No. 1 in overall customer service performance in July. It did so by improving shipping speeds from an average of six days in June to just four days in July.
J.Crew also posted improvements in packaging, fit and overall quality, which helped boost it to the top spot. J.Crew's stronger scores for issue resolution and professionalism also gave it the extra oomph it needed to top LLBean.
LLBean, as noted above, was best-in-class across all retail verticals for response time to emails, averaging 10 minutes faster than its nearest competitor in this category.
In the shipping category, Zappos.com was the leader in the field in both total days to delivery and package quality.
For returns, Net-A-Porter.com processed refunds more than a day faster than its closest competitor in the vertical.
Another standout brand was Sephora.com, which earned a 100 percent issue resolution score on the phone for the month, pushing the retailer to the top of the beauty/health category for the seventh time in nine months.