What type of customer service benchmarks should your ecommerce business be hitting? The E-Tailing Group’s 17th Annual Mystery Shopping Study has some insights. The survey, conducted at the end of 2014, studied 100 top retail websites for their best practices.
When it comes to customer service, these are the benchmarks used and how you can incorporate them in your business:
What type of self-service information is available on your website? How easy is it to find? How comprehensive is it? If there is a lot of information, is it categorized properly or searchable?
Of the 100 retailers surveyed, 83 percent have FAQs on-site. However, only 26 percent offer the ability to search FAQs. Surprisingly, the percentage of sites that list customer service hours of operation dropped from 83 percent in 2013 to 77 percent in 2014. This is the type of basic information every business should include on its website.
Online shopping cart
How easy is your shopping cart to use and edit? Is make-or-break information such as shipping costs and taxes presented before the end of the process? Can the customer save key information (shipping addresses, etc.) securely?
Top-rated retailers enable customers to checkout with five or fewer total steps/screens to fill out. Nearly all of the retailers (98 percent) now offer the ability to pre-populate the customer profile in the shopping cart so shoppers can check out faster. In addition, half have enabled one-click checkout.
As more consumers are browsing and buying on different devices, the “universal” shopping cart (which can be accessed from any device) is now offered by 82 percent of the top retailers, up from 73 percent in 2013. Another desirable feature: 65 percent of top retailers allow shoppers to move items from the shopping cart to a “wish list” or “buy later” list, up from 54 percent in 2013.
Days to receive ordered products
How long does it take to receive orders? What types of shipping options do you offer and for what prices?
Top retailers in the survey average delivery in 3.42 days, a slight improvement over 3.8 days in 2013.
How quickly do you provide order confirmations? What information do they contain? How easy is it to adjust or cancel an order after receiving confirmation?
Some 81 percent of e-tailers include customer service phone numbers in their order confirmation emails, up from 77 percent in 2013.
Quality of and response times for email/call center customer service queries
How quickly are emails/calls answered? What are average hold times at the call center? How many times is the average customer placed on hold or transferred during a customer service call?
The top retailers not only answer email questions within 24 hours, but also include a personalized salutation and content.
How easy are returns? If you have a brick-and-mortar store as well as an ecommerce site, can customers return online purchases in-store? Is there a charge for returns or are shipping costs covered?
Two-thirds of retailers now have one, uniform return policy for both online and offline purchases. Retailers are also adding convenience to the online return process by providing prepaid return shipping labels—64 percent of sites provide these, up from 59 percent in 2013.
By monitoring these benchmarks and continually seeking to improve upon them, your business can reach new levels of customer service success.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.