Customer Service Winners in the Holiday Season

John Scott
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Holiday season customer service is paramount for companies looking to cash in on the high level of retail sales activity that occurs in the final quarter of each year. Many retail businesses find this period to be exceptionally hectic, and their customer service teams are often stretched to the limit as they attempt to ensure a good customer experience for everyone who passes through their brick-and-mortar or virtual doors. ForeSee, one of the top companies for metrics and analysis in the world, produces an annual rating of the customer experience during the holidays. It measures holiday season customer service across multiple channels and allows consumers to rate their experiences with both online and offline retailers.

Customer service experts and their employers can learn much from the newest addition to the ForeSee Experience Index, the company-level customer satisfaction index rating. This rating identified two retailers as the top across multiple channels, each attaining a rating of 90 in company-level customer service. Amazon and L.L.Bean topped the charts by delivering unparalleled holiday season customer service. Amazon's focus on world-class customer service has helped ensure its future growth as it continues to outpace rivals with a combination of easy access and quick, effective service. L.L.Bean, once known primarily for its magazine sales methods, has consistently scored 80 for eight of the nine years that the FXI has rated online customer satisfaction.

Online channels are not the only source that the FXI takes into account. When it comes to brick-and-mortar sales, Publix Super Markets beat out Amazon to take the top spot in holiday season customer service with an index rating of 86. FXI analysis by ForeSee indicates that the top driver of satisfaction at the store level is the quality and quantity of available merchandise. QVC was reigning champion of the contact center channel, scoring an 88 index rating and beating Amazon for holiday season customer service in the channel by three points. Analysis by ForeSee indicates that the knowledge of customer service representatives at the contact center was the biggest factor in QVC's success.

The biggest winners during this year's holiday season are probably the consumers. When companies compete based on how well they can please shoppers, it makes shopping far easier for buyers. Almost half of shoppers noted that they visited the sites or retail locations of multiple companies before making a purchase during the holiday season this year, and a large number of survey respondents noted that they consider each transaction to be part of their dealings with the business itself. They do not distinguish between different channels.

These winners have many lessons to teach customer service experts in a variety of different settings. Easy-to-use website designs and stores stocked with a variety of useful merchandise are only part of the requirements for success. Taking the time to educate customer service representatives on the products and services delivered by the company can result in great benefits for companies when it comes to holiday season customer service and satisfaction.



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