- Results of our inaugural Customer Service Benchmark Report
- Findings reveal how the top retail and consumer goods companies deliver against customer service KPIs: availability, responsiveness, resolution time and measuring customer happiness
- Analysis of how users of the most popular agent desk platforms perform against industry averages
Customer Service Benchmark
We’re excited to announce the launch of our inaugural Customer Service Benchmark Report. In this edition, we dig deep into the email customer support of retail and consumer goods companies. With support now a differentiator and business driver, the state of email customer support is surprising. While some companies wowed us with quick resolutions and going above and beyond to wow customers, on average, retail and consumer goods companies have a long way to go.
To download a copy of the full report, visit here.
Key Findings of the Customer Service Benchmark Report
- Zendesk users are 2X faster than other agent desk software to send a response
- Salesforce users outperformed other agent desk software by 121%
- Only 56% of companies have an easy-to-access email address
- 70% of companies that have an email address never respond
- Customers are 8X more likely to get a response to an email on a weekday than a weekend
- The average response time to email requests is 36 hours
- Only 1 in 5 retailers respond to an email within 24 hours
- Fortune 500 companies respond 1.4x slower to respond to emails than Non-Fortune 500 companies
- Only 14% of companies measure CSAT
- When given the chance to go above and beyond and fulfill a special request, 83% of companies failed to deliver
The Agent Desk Matters: Zendesk users provide better-than-average support
Our report found that Zendesk users are 2X faster than other agent desk software to send a response. Compared to other agent desk platforms, Salesforce users also outperformed by 121%.
In addition to better response times, Zendesk are 2X more likely to send a CSAT survey to gauge customer satisfaction with an interaction.
Email is preferred, but is not often a choice
According to Forrester Research, “54% of customers used email for customer service last year, making it the most used digital channel for customer service.”
This is true even in the wake of companies de-prioritizing email as messaging platforms, live chat and even voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant emerged as ways to engage in 1:1 conversations and resolve issues. According to our consumer research, it’s because email customer support is more convenient, not requiring a person to carry on a real-time conversation. Our research also revealed its preferred as it’s readily available across all of our devices.
Of the nearly 1,000 retail and consumer goods companies in our study, only 56% of companies have an easy-to-access, readily available email address. Nearly 64% of companies offered a Web form, which is often viewed as a replacement for email, and 37% of companies offered an email address and a Web form. Surprisingly, 17% of companies did not have either an email address or a web form.
To download a copy of the Customer Service Benchmark report, visit here.
There is a huge divide between response times expectations and reality
Only 20% of companies respond within 24 hours, and nearly 1 in 5 companies do not respond to emails within 48 hours. The average response time is 36 hours. This is 36X slower than customer expectations, as 31% of customers expect responses in one hour or less1.
Of the companies that respond to emails, nearly 56% respond within 12 hours and 46% within 6 hours. On average, eCommerce companies are the quickest to respond, within 11.5 hours on average. With an average response time of 62 hours, personal care and cosmetics companies are the slowest to respond.
In an interesting twist, Fortune 500 companies respond to customer emails 1.5X slower than Non-Fortune 500 companies. The average response time for Fortune 500 companies was 47 hours, while non-Fortune 500 companies responded, on average, in 34 hours.
Emails are ignored 8X more on the weekend
What was even more surprising than companies not even having an email address, is that nearly 3 in 4 companies that publish an email address ignore customer service emails.
We did find discrepancies among different industry sectors. Home Furnishings is almost twice as likely to respond than other retail companies, responding 55% of the time, followed by Apparel (48%), Fitness, Health & Wellness (47%) and Toy & Entertainment (43%) companies. The worst offenders were Food and Beverage Companies (responding 38% of the time) and Consumer Electronics & Tech companies (only 18% of the time).
It shouldn’t be surprising that companies respond more frequently during the week. We found that customers are 8X more likely to get a response on a weekday than a weekend.
Support Best Practices: Personalization and CSAT Results
Studies have shown that 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand who provides personalized experiences2. When a customer hits send, though, only 20% will receive a response that is personalized.
CSAT is one of the most important customer service KPIs. It’s how companies can ensure customers are happy with an experience. We were shocked that only 14% of companies sent a CSAT survey following a resolution.
Customer-obsession is alive and well
We often hear stories about agents going truly above and beyond to delight customers. We wanted to see if agents were empowered to fulfill a simple request. We asked an agent to send a birthday message to a five-year-old whose birthday party (which Spongebob Squarepants was scheduled to attend) was cancelled. We were pleased to see that 1 in 5 companies go above and beyond to delight customers. Some agents went so far as to write poems, include messages from other characters, and attach images and GIFs. Especially in tough times like these, seeing agents empowered to do a small gesture was really meaningful and one way to spur long-term loyalty and brand advocacy (the kind that pays off in revenue).
The results of this Customer Service Benchmark study have been fact-checked and featured by one of the top retail writers on Forbes.
Retailers and consumer goods companies have a lot of work to do when it comes to closing the gap between customer expectations and the reality of email support. Get your copy of our Customer Service Benchmark Report here.
- Toister Solutions https://www.toistersolutions.com/blog/how-quickly-should-you-respond-to-email
- Epsilon: https://us.epsilon.com/pressroom/new-epsilon-research-indicates-80-of-consumers-are-more-likely-to-make-a-purchase-when-brands-offer-personalized-experiences