If you sometimes find yourself hesitating when shopping online, you're not alone. It doesn't take much to set up an attractive website, display some fine merchandise or services, and go about the business of selling. If we're lucky and our orders arrive just as we were promised, the sale is a success, and we most likely will give that company our repeat business. Our problems begin however, when something goes awry, and we search for ways to hold an online company accountable for our complaints.
We used to be able to call the Better Business Bureau and get ratings for how effective a company's reputation was or how customers were treated. The sheer volume of businesses and the popularity of online shopping just make traditional ways of evaluating customer service dinosaurs of the past, hence the arrival of independent companies who generate measurements to assess customer service experiences we all hope or dread as we go about our online shopping moments.
It is very interesting that companies like STELLA Service now rate online customer service from Elite, Excellent, Approved, and Not Approved. The STELLA service independently rates customer service using such criteria as the effectiveness of navigating a site, conduct usability tests, ordering, returning, sales interactions, phone, email, and even live chat. It's not just mystery shopping either, but more of an investigative report using data that really breaks down to some serious information about a company's service.
For instance, STELLA breaks down how long it takes to reach customer service agents. The longest wait was with Dell (27 minutes), and Verizon phone (26 minutes) while the fastest customer service representatives were from Amazon (under a minute), Hyatt ( two rings for reservation assistance), and T-Mobile (answered by a United States customer service representative).
Then there was the fastest hold times. Sierra Trading Post answered within six seconds while Nordstrom.com answered within 21 seconds. The longest hold times were Barnes and Noble (eight minutes, three seconds), and Macys.com (seven minutes, and twelve seconds).
Now if online businesses could follow the lead of companies who have been rated as Elite and Excellent and essentially start policing themselves to provide the best shopping experiences for their customers, shoppers wouldn't be throwing their phones across the room waiting 25 minutes to speak to a Dell representative when there is a complaint about someone's six-month old laptop flashing the blue screen or waiting for a Verizon customer service representative to figure out why a consumer's monthly bill is off the charts. I would rather do business with organizations who "WOW" me, and now it's getting easier to sift through the contenders.
photo credit: Ryan Q