Blast Radius, a UK customer experience consultancy, has conducted and publicized a customer experience audit of the top 28 (by traffic) online British retailers. What I like about their customer experience evaluation is that it includes the entire customer experience, not just the buying experience--but the entire end-to-end experience.
We used to run similar customer experience tests for online retailers in the U.S., until the results began to get fairly equal.
Here are the top 10:
The top ten:
- Amazon UK
- Dell EMEA
- Apple Computer UK
- Tesco/QVC UK [tied]
- Currys/Littlewoods [tied]
- John Lewis
- Hewlett-Packard/Marks and Spencer [tied]
You can download the entire Blast Radius Report on UK Online Shopping 2006.
What caught my attention about this customer experience comparison were three things. First, that the U.S. based companies (Amazon, Dell, Amazon) seemed to do better than the UK brands, such as Tesco, Comet and the venerable Marks and Spencer. Second, that Dell came out ahead of HP on this trial. In the U.S., HP has been giving Dell a real run for the money in customer experience. Third, that the areas in which the UK e-tailers fall short were returns handling and delivery scheduling.
In the press release that accompanied the study, Lee Feldman, Blast Radius' Chief Creative Officer, commented:
“The study results show that investment by online retailers tends to focus on what they care about most, securing the sale. This attention is at odds with what the customers focus on, what happens after they have made a purchase. This `service disconnect` is critical and reveals a short sighted view of the customer based on immediate revenue collection where real value is gained from long-term relationships."
The study cited these issues as negative differentiators:
- Return policies not stated up front
- Inability to schedule deliveries at convenient times and slow deliveries/product unavailability (after the order is placed)
- Anonymous (non-branded) packaging vs. branded packaging, branded inserts, good branded email follow ups