If online shopping was a nightmare for you during the holidays, you weren't alone. Slammed with an increased volume of inbound orders, product questions and returns, retailers showed a widespread dip in their quality of customer service. But good news: According to a report from StellaService, a company that employs mystery shoppers to rank brands based on their customer service quality, things got a whole lot better in January.
After dropping in StellaService's rankings during the holiday season, J.Crew bumped itself up to first place with its speedy issue resolution on email and its employees' high level of product and policy knowledge. L.L. Bean came in second, followed by others like Net-a-Porter, Ralph Lauren, Zappos and, somewhat surprisingly, Gap.
J.Crew saw a full six-day improvement in its refund processing turnaround in January, down from 15 days during the month of December. They were also helped along responding quickly to phone calls, typically answering in less than 45 seconds.
"On email, there was a big speed improvement for that channel," says says Kevon Hills, the director of research at StellaService. "In December it took [J.Crew] 8.3 hours to respond to emails on average and now that's down to 3.6."
J.Crew may be sitting pretty this month, but there's something to be said for handling the holidays with grace. One retailer that weathered the holiday crush particularly well? L.L. Bean, which came in at no. 1 for the months of November and December.
"When we look at holiday, it's interesting to look at that data compared to two or three months prior to the holiday period to really understand who is good at anticipating volumes correctly... It's really a testament to how well they train their seasonal workers and how well they anticipate volume," Hills says.