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STELLASERVICE: MOST CUSTOMER SERVICE TWEETS GO UNANSWERED WITHIN 24 HOURS
In a study of the top 25 online retailers, only 44% of customer service questions posted via Twitter are answered within 24 hours Zappos.com and LLBean.com prove most responsive answering 100% of Tweets within 24 hours
New York City (May 30, 2012) – According to a new study released today by STELLAService, if you are hoping to get a customer service question answered via Twitter, there are two online retailers that have proved 100% reliable – Zappos.com and LLBean.com.
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STELLAService is an independent company that measures and rates the customer service performance of online retailers. Leveraging a nationwide network of full-time mystery shoppers, STELLAService evaluates thousands of retailers each year using more than 350 metrics, from the quality of live customer support to the speed of refunds.
For the study, STELLAService’s mystery shoppers tweeted basic customer service questions to the official Twitter accounts of the Internet’s top 25 retailers every day over the course of a 45-day period, tracking the frequency and speed of each company's replies.
According the study, only two companies – Zappos.com and LLBean.com – replied to every single tweet within 24 hours. Rounding out the top five most reliable Twitter performers were Overstock.com (replying to 98 percent of all tweets within 24 hours), Dell.com (98 percent), and Best Buy (89 percent).
All told, however, among the top 25 retailers, an average of 44% of customer Tweets were answered.
According to STELLAService CEO Jordy Leiser, the STELLAService study reveals that a majority of the retailers are paying short shrift to quality customers who are both willing to spend more than the average shopper and who place enormous importance on quality customer service. Citing a recent American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, Leiser said that people who have used social media for customer service at least once in the last year are willing to spend 21% more with companies that provide great service.
"It’s becoming clear that social media savvy consumers are an incredibly important segment of any company’s customer base, both because they have higher service expectations and they have wide broadcast networks for sharing their experiences with others,” said Leiser. “By failing to take Twitter seriously as a customer service channel, companies may be inadvertently ignoring some of their best customers at their own peril.”
Given the real-time nature of Twitter and users’ craving for immediacy, the study also revealed average response times for the five most reliable retailers. Zappos proved the speediest, posting an average response time of 54 minutes and 37 seconds, the only of the group to clock in under an hour, followed by Best Buy (1:47:20), Overstock (1:53:33), Dell.com (2:28:31), and LLBean (3:55:07).
For the 45 days starting April 1, STELLAService's nationwide network of “mystery shoppers” tweeted simple customer service questions on a daily basis, logging both the speed and quality of the replies.
STELLAService included the 25 largest retailers according to the 2011 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. In order of their appearance in the Guide, the following retailers were included in the STELLAService study: Amazon.com Inc., Zappos.com Inc. (Amazon subsidiary), Staples Inc., Dell Inc., Office Depot Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Sears Holdings Corp., QVC Inc., Office Max Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc., Newegg Inc., Sony Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp., Macy’s Inc., Victoria’s Secret Direct LLC, Hewlett-Packard Co., J.C. Penney Inc., L.L. Bean Inc., Target Corp., Systemax Inc. (TigerDirect.com), Gap Inc., Williams-Sonoma Inc., HSN Inc., Overstock.com and Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. Apple.com was excluded because the company does not have a presence on Twitter, and Netflix.com was excluded because it is not a traditional online retailer. CDW.com and Grainger.com were excluded because they mostly focus on business customers.
In all, 1,125 tweets were measured from April 1, 2012 to May 15, 2012. Seven of the tweets were excluded from the calculations due to technical error. Screenshots of each tweet and reply (if applicable) were taken for record keeping of each interaction.
An executive summary of the findings is available at http://business.stellaservice.com/resources/
Dedicated to helping consumers make more informed online shopping decisions, STELLAService is the only independent provider of customer service ratings for online retailers. The company leverages a nationwide network of full-time mystery shoppers to evaluate each site undercover, ensuring findings that are unbiased and true to the shopping experience. STELLAService has been profiled in Advertising Age (“STELLAService strives to give e-tailers credibility”) and its data has been featured in outlets such as Time, SmartMoney, Consumerist, and CNN. Based in New York City, the company also publishes reports and other research to help companies worldwide improve their service operations. For more information, visit http://www.STELLAService.com. Follow us on Twitter at @STELLAService. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/STELLAService