OPERATIONS

Amazon.com tops customer service ratings

BY Dan Berthiaume

Waban, Mass. – Amazon.com took second place overall and was the highest-ranked retailer in the 2014 Temkin Customer Service Ratings, which rates 233 companies across 19 industries with 10,000 U.S. consumers. Other retailers in the top 12 include Chick-fil-A, Publix, H-E-B, Starbucks, Costco, QVC, and Trader Joe’s.

Retailers with the most improvement over last year’s ratings are Apple Store, KFC, and Food Lion. Ace Hardware and Staples saw their Temkin Customer Service Ratings fall by 15 points or more between 2013 and 2014: No retailers placed at the bottom of the rankings.

"Customer service is a key moment of truth for many companies," said Bruce Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group. "While some industries are notoriously bad, it’s great to see so many companies making improvements."

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Survey: Retailers expect, avoid job-hoppers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago – In many cases retailers have to come to expect “job-hoppers” who frequently change jobs, but in many cases they also avoid them. More than half of 182 retail hiring managers and human resource professionals (54%) polled in a recent CareerBuilder survey said they have hired a job-hopper and more than one-third (36%) said they have come to expect workers to job-hop.

However, more than four-in-10 (44%) said they will dismiss a job-hopper’s application outright. Fifty-five percent of retail employers said that job-hopping becomes less acceptable when a worker reaches his/her early to mid-30s (ages 30 or 35). Twenty-seven percent find job-hopping less acceptable after the age of 40.

Employers expect a higher rate of job-hopping among younger workers who are still trying to find a footing for their long-term career. When hiring a new college graduate, 51% expect the new hire to stay with the organization for two years or less, while just more than one in four (27%) expect new college grads to stay five years or longer.

“Retailers are split on the issue of job-hopping. While there is some acknowledgement that job-hopping is an industry fact-of-life, most employers still want to hire workers who can commit for at least a couple of years,” said Rob Morris, director of WorkInRetail.com. “Between saving on training costs and the increased efficiencies of a well-tenured staff, it pays to focus on retention efforts. Offering promising employees incentives and clearly-laid out career paths are often the best way to achieve those results.”

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Study: One-in-four e-commerce purchases have inadequate shipping

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Nearly a quarter of packages purchased online and tested during a six-month period did not meet the basics for adequate shipping. In a study spanning six months of data, conducted from October 2013 to March 2014, StellaService Analysts placed 2,855 orders with 125 leading online retailers to measure the quality of the shipping and returns experience.

Retailers fell short in package fit (10%) and damaged packages (10%), which were the main causes of missed opportunities. These orders were then returned to the retailers. The total number of returns evaluated was 2,720. Of note, if a refund was not issued within 28 days, those orders were excluded from the study. If the retailer didn’t accept a return, (in some cases the retailer said to keep the item) those orders were also excluded.

Nearly one-in-three retailers in the study did not meet the basic criteria for any of the returns initiated by StellaService analysts. Still, several retailers, including Mr. Porter, Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers, scored high marks, particularly in delivering orders in consistently high-quality packaging.

“Leading retailers know that delivery and returns are key areas where they must differentiate themselves in order to win customers, and we are starting to see retailers make investments in those areas,” said Kevon Hills, StellaService VP of research.

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