An interesting article on BusinessWire (Sept 25, 2007), Survey Reveals Top 100 U.S. Online Retailers' Customer Service Shortfalls, highlights how top retailers don't live up to customer's demands when it comes to providing "an exceptional customer experience."
Seems that most dropped the ball and found that success could be as simple as answering their email, providing better self-help tools and returning customer calls...
"Overall, the Talisma audit revealed that online retailers are failing in three key areas:
1. One-third of email queries were ignored - Email is generally accepted as one of the most efficient communication tools. This seems to have been overlooked by many online retailers as 34% didn't reply to customer emails.
2. Lack of Self-Help Tools - 97% of online retailers had no knowledge base to help prospective buyers make an informed decision based on product features and suitability, known issues, or customer service accessibility and policies.
3. Accuracy of information provided - only 51% of emails and 72% of phone calls answered provided accurate information."
Gives me greater incentive to ensure that I am getting to my email backlog in a more timely manner (with apologies)
A copy of the report (along with a list of the online retailers surveyed) is available at http://www.talisma.com/tal_emails/us/retail/ret_us_form.asp.