Customer Service Evaluation News 1/1/12

The Year’s Worst of the Worst in Online Merchants

By: Alyce Lomax


The whole concept of online commerce hinges on convenience, particularly during the frantic holiday shopping season.

Unfortunately, some well-known Web merchants left consumers seriously dissatisfied in the past year. One of the most notable is Netflix (NFLX): Its cherry-colored logo has left many customers seeing red.

Overstock.com CSE

Online Outrages

Foresee — an organization that tracks customer experience and satisfaction online — recently released its 2011 Annual E-Retail Satisfaction Index. Netflix, a former “satisfaction superstar” that for seven years rivaled Amazon.com (AMZN) at the top of the heap, is now ranked as average in the satisfaction department. Netflix’s serious missteps this past year have resulted in an 8% plunge in customer satisfaction.

Even worse, Netflix’s scores fell in every category metric that Foresee measures, such as site content, functionality, merchandise and prices.

Netflix’s shocking fall from grace is old news, but Foresee’s data could help forewarn you about other online merchants that might leave you cold in seasons to come.

Overstock.com (OSTK) ranked at the very bottom of the list and also achieved a shocking free-fall over the year, with its score dropping by 5%.

Gap (GPS) lives first and foremost in the bricks-and-mortar world, where it’s shrinking its physical store count. But it’s not particularly charming shoppers in the virtual realm, either. It’s ranked only higher than Overstock.com, and its score has dropped 6%.

Mystery shopper company STELLAService revealed another source of potential dissatisfaction for online shoppers: how long it takes to receive refunds on returns. Dell (DELL), Zappos, and QVC resided at the bottom of a list for the swiftness of refunds in the weeks leading up to the holidays, with 13- to 14.3-day turnaround times. That’s a long time to wait for your money back.

Online Outperformers

Cheer up, though — some merchants continue to provide an excellent customer experience on the Web.


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