Consumers hate waiting a long time to reach a customer service agent, and that doesn’t happen often when they call L. L. Bean Inc. It’s one reason why the outdoor apparel retailer took the top spot for the second quarter in a row in the Stella Benchmarks customer service survey by StellaService Inc.
Agents for StellaService, which monitors the service web merchants provide consumers, reached live agents by phone in under 30 seconds on average and received email responses in just over an hour. By comparison, only 10% of other e-retailers that sell apparel and accessories connected callers to agents in under 30 seconds and 31% averaged more than two minutes. 40% took more than 12 hours to respond to an email, StellaService says.
L.L. Bean, No. 34 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500, ranked in the top 25 of the 120 online retailers surveyed in four of the five categories StellaService ranks: responding to phone calls, emails and chat, and handling returns of online orders. The only category in which L.L. Bean did not make the top 25 was in shipping. This quarterly survey covered August through October.
Behind L.L. Bean in the overall ranking were The Net-A-Porter Group LLC (No. 101 in the Top 500), Shopbop (a unit of No. 1 Amazon), Mr. Porter and Burberry Ltd. (No. 360).
Here are the average response times for the top 25 performers in each of the five customer service categories in the StellaService survey:
- Phone: 49 seconds.
- Email: 4.6 hours.
- Live chat: 31 seconds.
- Shipping days to delivery: 3.6 for top 25, 4.1 for all surveyed.
- Days to process refunds of returned item: 8.4 for top 25 and all e-retailers surveyed.
Net-A-Porter took the top spot in phone response time, iHerb Inc. (No. 223) in email and chat, Best Buy Co. Inc. (No. 14) in shipping and Burberry in returns.
Here are the top three e-retailers overall by merchandise category, with their Top 500 ranking:
- Apparel/Accessories: L.L. Bean (34), Net-A-Porter (101), Shopbop (part of No. 1 Amazon)
- Auto/Home Improvement: Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (36), CARID, Advance Auto Parts Inc. (74)
- Electronics/Media: Apple Inc. (2), Microsoft Corp. (93), HP Home & Home Office Store (42)
- Home Furnishings: Room & Board, Wayfair LLC (33), Sur La Table (295)
- Household Items/Personal Products: iHerb (223), Vitamin Shoppe (214), Swanson Vitamins
- Leisure Goods: RevZilla (302), Bass Pro Shops (110), JP Cycles
- Multiline Retail: Amazon (1), QVC Inc. (15), J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (37)