The 2010 holiday shopping season went down as the most robust ever, with sales and web traffic for online retailers posting all-time highs. Of course, as these things tend to go, it was a better season for some than others and customer service once again played a big role in determining holiday success according to new research.
Amazon and Netflix earned the highest customer satisfaction scores in the latest ForSee E-retail Satisfaction Index, joining only 10 other companies that scored over the 80 point “threshold for excellence” as defined by ForSee this holiday season.
Amazon and Netflix each earned scores of 86 to lead the way. Surprisingly though, overall customer satisfaction with online shopping dropped one point from last year to a score of 79. And while pricing certainly proved to be an important component in how consumers rated their satisfaction with e-retailers, it was not the only one—companies that scored well in the ForSee index more often than not offered shoppers a more well-rounded e-commerce experience in addition to competitive prices.
“In a recovering economy, a lot of us assume that declining satisfaction is a result of frustration with prices. Our research shows that is not always the case, and that it varies drastically from company to company,” said ForeSee Results CEO Larry Freed.
The most glaring example of this in ForSee’s data, is how Wal-mart stacked up against the Amazon. Price-wise, the two giants are pretty close. But Amazon’s top score can largely be attributed to varied merchandise, solid web content and site functionality, which gave it a score six points higher than Wal-mart’s (80) despite being the only top retailer to actually lose points from its 2009 satisfaction score.
As another good example, ForSee cited Apple.com as well. While consumers widely feel that Apple offers products that are among the most expensive on the market, the company earned a higher score than lower-cost rivals HP and Dell thanks to its web site functionality as well.
ForSee’s full top 12 and their scores is as follows:
LL Bean 83
Musican’s Friend 80
Vista Print 80
For this index, ForeSee uses a methodology developed at the University of Michigan and used by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, an on-going study that analyzes customer satisfaction across a broad range of businesses and industry. Higher scores indicate greater reported customer satisfaction, but the numbers don’t represent any particular unit: a score of 80 isn’t an ’80 percent’ satisfaction rating.
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