In its most recent study, the Chicago-based consultancy surveyed 100 of the country’s top B2C retailers and singled out nine for their “excellent” service.
Tiffany & Co. was the sole jewelry representative. The other eight were: Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Garnet Hill, Green Mountain Coffee, The Home Depot, Williams-Sonoma, Wine.com and Zappos.
“These merchants understand that customers gravitate to sites with front-end efficiency and back-end speed in support and logistics. Delivering a swift online shopping experience has become the ticket to retention,” said the e-tailing group’s president, Lauren Freedman. These nine are all big corporations but the criteria used by the etailing group to identify them could be applied by many small businesses to gauge their own online services. Here are etailing’s seven “must haves” in order of importance:
-Visibility of an 800 number that was 2.5 or higher on a scale of 3.0
-Response to an e-mail question within 24 hours with a specific answer and personalized greeting
-Overall experience on a customer service call (efficiency/knowledge) that was a 2.0 or higher on a scale of 3.0
-Email order confirmation sent with order # and customer service information
-Less than four days’ delivery
-Quick checkout feature
-Five or fewer clicks to checkout
While there still aren’t many independent jewelers doing huge numbers in terms of online sales, the channel is growing in importance. And even if you use your website purely to introduce yourself to customers and showcase inventory, it would be smart to aim for a pass mark on these criteria. Prompt response to queries? Visible phone number? Knowledgeable customer service? It all sounds like common sense. But obviously many of the country’s biggest online retailers are still falling short. How would you stack up?