My local news yesterday reported a story about an employee in a barber shop who stabbed his boss with his scissors because he didn't want to wait on the next customer. The employer is fine and recovering, but the story is an extreme example of lackadaisical service.
Service like that won't cut it. Customers don't want to wait in line at stores, online, and especially on the phone. As a result, service has become a differentiator for today's consumers.
A new report from StellaService lists the top retailers that are appealing to customers' expectations with the fastest online and phone service. The firm conducted more than 1,200 calls and mystery shopping trips over several days to the 100 top retailers to find which ones provide the best time-sensitive support and as a result ranked the top-10 speediest retailers.
Sierratradingpost.com boasts the shortest average amount of time that customers have to wait on hold on the phone at six seconds. Officedepot.com earned first place for responding to customer emails the fastest at 48 minutes. In contrast Crateandbarrel.com takes an average of four days to respond to emails.
Of the top 100 retailers, the five companies with the shortest call hold times are: SierraTradingPost.com (6 seconds), YOOX.com (11 seconds), DisneyStore.com (12 seconds), UrbanOutfitters.com (17 seconds), and Grainger.com (21 seconds).
The companies with the longest call hold times are: BarnesandNoble.com.com (8 minutes, 3 seconds), CSNStores.com (7 minutes, 20 seconds), Macys.com (7 minutes, 12 seconds), Zones.com (6 minutes, 56 seconds), and GreenMountainCoffee.com (4 minutes, 50 seconds)
When it comes to the quickest email response time, OfficeDepot.com is followed by MusiciansFriend.com (58 minutes, 40 seconds), Diapers.com (01:23:48), DisneyStore.com (01:47:40), and Abercrombie.com (01:50:45). The companies with the longest email response times are Crateandbarrel.com (88:30:24), Fingerhut.com (79:29:30), Dell.com (65:10:45), SwissColony.com (52:29:15), and MarketAmerica.com (39:35:36). The study found the average email response time across all merchants to be approximately 17 hours.
The study also found that the longest hold times occurred on Mondays and Fridays, while Sunday was the easiest day to reach a live representative.