Trends Report

Online Retail Customer Service Availability Needs Some Improvement

Retail eBusiness Customer Service And Support Benchmark, 2009

August 7th, 2009
DC
Diane Clarkson
ES
Elizabeth Stark
With contributors:
Carrie Johnson , Kate van Geldern

Summary

As part of a larger analysis of 90 Web sites, Forrester evaluated the accessibility and availability of online customer service and support among 30 leading retail Web sites. Retail sites scored the highest compared to other industries reviewed, with 14 sites receiving a passing score. Overall, retail sites delivered average customer service availability, but they made up for it with helpful social and community customer service elements. During our analysis we uncovered some good practices, such as Dell's consistent contextual help and breadth of customer service touchpoints, Wal-Mart's well-integrated customer forums, and Staples' and Overstock.com's straightforward customer service touchpoints. To improve online customer support availability, retail eBusiness and channel strategy professionals should provide reliable and consistent contextual support on product pages and promote interactive customer support methods.

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