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By Evan Schuman  |  Posted 2004-11-24 Print this article Print

"Many retailers are putting renewed emphasis on customer service, but shoppers are telling them that even more needs to be done," said John Theiss, vice president of Retail Industries at American Express Establishment Services. "This study identifies a wide range of service improvement opportunities that can have a meaningful impact on shoppers."
Abandoned shopping carts may be good news. To read more, click here.
How are consumers defining good customer service? Courteous treatment was the answer from 67 percent of the participants, while almost as many (65 percent) said they wanted to be made to feel like a "valued customer."Retailers lost points for some negative customer service behavior, such as pressuring customers to buy (69 percent) and being unable to find employees to help (61 percent). Having a "neat and clean store" was "extremely important" for 60 percent of the participants. The customer service definitions change for online. The vast majority of online consumers (88 percent) said that "an extremely important component" of Web customer service is delivering "a safe and secure Web site." On-time merchandise delivery (73 percent) and quick answers (74 percent) were also mentioned. Staples has been trying to boost customer service with automated refunds. Is it working? Click here to find out. Privacy cropped up as a top concern with both online (78 percent) and offline (73 percent) customers, with a specific request that information not be shared with other companies. Accurate item pricing was another priority that hit home with both online (75 percent) and offline (71 percent) customers, along with the belief that merchants would fix defective products.For that one, online customers (74 percent) were slightly more nervous than their brick-and-mortar (63 percent) counterparts. The survey also showed strong online and offline consumer desire for clear, fair and non-argumentative return policies.Retail Center Editor Evan Schuman can be reached at Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on technologys impact on retail.

Evan Schuman is the editor of's Retail industry center. He has covered retail technology issues since 1988 for Ziff-Davis, CMP Media, IDG, Penton, Lebhar-Friedman, VNU, BusinessWeek, Business 2.0 and United Press International, among others. He can be reached by e-mail at

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