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Top UK retailers’ customer service quality ranked

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

A new report has reviewed the customer service offering of major high street and online brands to determine who is providing the best service on the market.

The mystery shopping data, conducted by FM Outsource, has been condensed into a report to highlight how customer service is being done effectively in the modern landscape, and where there is still room for improvement.

Key findings include:-

  • Pretty Little Thing, Primark, and Waitrose all highlighted as underperforming in customer service channel availability, response times and contact resolution.
  • The average telephone response time for supermarket brands was5 minutes, over 1.5 minutes longer than the accepted industry standard average.
  • 100% of e-tailer websites had webchat availability, compared to under 30% for supermarkets.
  • Less than 12% of retail brands offer SMS or Whatsapp as a customer communication tool.
  • Less than half of the brands analysed had a first contact resolution (FCR) rate of over 50%, meaning queries were left unresolved.

The first element of customer service that FM Outsource’s research deck covers is the channel mix that businesses offer. They cite that most brands are beginning to see the benefits of diversifying their customer service channels. However, there is still a bias towards certain channels, depending on the category a company falls under.

E-tailers, for example, outshine the competition in digital customer service channel adoption. Of those FM Outsource examined, 100% use webchat and also have customer service coverage on social media platforms. When it comes to telephone and email capabilities traditional brick and mortar retailers lead the way, with 60% offering both of these channels.

Of all the brands FM Outsource researched, only two are currently offering SMS or WhatsApp as a customer service channel: Tescoand Pretty Little Thing. This means there is a huge opportunity for brands wanting to go the extra mile with their customer service. FM Outsource explains that adding this additional channel to a brand’s customer service offering could be the key to standing out from the competition and winning over more customers.

FM Outsource’s Mystery Shopper research deck also covers response rates and times. On average they found that all three categories delivered similar response times of 11 minutes (supermarkets), 11.5 minutes (brick and mortar) and 12 minutes (e-tailers).

However, some brands stood out in particular. Currys performed extremely well across all their available customer service channels with an average response time of less than four minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, IKEA didn’t respond at all on three out of their four customer service channels, despite multiple attempts by mystery shoppers to reach them.

Almost across the board, brands performed poorly in social media response times. An overwhelming 76% of responses were either sent over an hour later or not at all.

Finally FM Outsource evaluated whether brands were successful in resolving customer queries in their first attempt. They found that only six out of the 17 brands they investigated had a first contact resolution (FCR) rate of more than 50%.

And when comparing the three categories as a whole there were no major differences; e-tailers took a minor lead with an average FCR rate of nearly 49%, closely followed by supermarkets at 45% and brick and mortar retailers at 38%. That being said, e-tailer, Missguided, was the one exceptional performer with a notable FCR rate of 83%.

Martin Brown, General Manager at FM Outsource, said: “We earmark being able to resolve a customer’s query when they first get in contact as a gamechanger – the less friction and frustration shoppers have to experience when dealing with customer service, the more likely they are to remain loyal to that brand. We hope our findings can give businesses some direction on where to focus their customer service efforts and avoid the pitfalls that even major e-tailers, brick and mortar retailers and major supermarkets have fallen victim to.”

Delve into the entire data here: https://fmoutsource.com/landing-mystery-shopper/