.

SmartMoney Blogs

Pay Dirt
A daily look at what we buy, how we spend, and the companies that do right - and wrong - by their customers.

Get Better Customer Service — Fast

iStockphoto

Judging by the results of a new study on speedy customer service, Disney Store is liberally sprinkling magic pixie dust on its customer support staff, while calls to Barnes & Noble are getting lost somewhere in the stacks.

Of the 100 big retailers tested in a new study that service ratings firm StellaService, OfficeDepot.com responded fastest to emails, sending most within 48 minutes. Callers to SierraTradingPost.com waited on hold for just six seconds before talking to a live customer service representative. SierraTradingPost.com customer service manager Kimberly Ellingson credits the short wait to a direct-dial number – after a ring or two, you’re immediately connected to a live rep. OfficeDepot.com did not respond to requests for comment.

DisneyStore.com was the only store to be fast at both kinds of communications, answering phone calls in 12 seconds and emails in a little less than two hours. The site sets a bar for its staff of answering calls within 30 seconds, and emails within 24 hours, says Paul Gainer, the senior vice president of Disney Store North America.

Lagging behind the pack, BarnesandNoble.com kept callers on hold the longest, for an average eight minutes and three seconds. CrateandBarrel.com took 88 hours on average to reply to emails. Calls from the media must go into the same queue: neither company responded to requests for comment.

StellaService
StellaService

“It’s becoming clear which sites are making customer service a top priority and who’s letting it be just another line item in the budget,” says Jordy Leiser, the co-founder of StellaService. To conduct the study, StellaService staff logged more than 1,200 calls and emails to the companies involved. Based on their experiences, here’s how to get faster service:

Call. “To the extent that you can find the company’s phone number, that’s how you should reach out to them,” Leiser says. It’s significantly faster than email. But some sites make it hard to find a general phone number. Calling the store can yield answers to some questions, if not that elusive corporate toll-free number.

Use a shortcut. GetHuman.com tells you which buttons to press to navigate phone menu mazes. You’ll still wait on hold, but it can cut at least a few minutes off your phone time.

Reach out on Sunday. Eight in 10 sites have staff available then, and the wait times are the shortest. Have to call during the week? Avoid Monday and Friday, Leiser says. The company didn’t see significant difference in wait times based on time of day.

Comments

We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 6)

View all Comments »
    • By WebOsPublisher

      Just another WordPress site
      Function » Maintenance Mode
      Function
      Function
      We shall return.
      Log In
      Maintenance Mode plugin by Software Guide.

    • By WebOsPublisher

      Internet Application icons
      Internet Application Icons
      All Icons
      Internet Application Icons
      You can purchase these pictograms for your projects. Click on icons to purchase them.
      Internet application Travel Icon Set
      Internet application Large Icons for Vista
      Internet application Vista Toolbar Icons
      Home | Products | Downloads | Order | Icons | Support
      Copyright © 2005-2012 Aha-Soft. All rights reserved.
      Royalty-free Stock Icons
      People Icons for Vista
      Perfect Toolbar Icons
      Business Toolbar Icons
      Database Toolbar Icons
      Multimedia Icons for Vista

    • “here is no evidence that all of the plraeys who are exposed have written down their losses”yes, there is. much of it was publicly announced (like BNP) or would have been marked to market (as in the US) anyway.these bonds trade v. they have prices. what, you thing goldman is carrying them at par on their sheets? that would be illegal. if a bond is trading at .55, you do not carry it at par if there is a market. this is not some tiny OTC product where there is no market and you can play games. it’s a govvie.you are making all sorts of outlandish assumptions that hedge funds are incredibly stupid. this story about CDS’s not being valid is months and months old. everyone knows this. sinclair is 6 months to a year off the market.he’s taking old, old news and trying to make it a “new” crisis.lots of these hedge funds bought at .45 and selling at .55 will be a profit. the losses were already taken at many big banks.seriously v, call a bond desk. ask around. you are being terribly misinformed here. sinclair has no idea what he’s talking about.”How do you invest if you can’t hedge effectively?”this question doesn’t make any sense. you invest with directional exposure. i own tons of things that cannot be hedged. you act like there was no govvie market before CDS’s. they are a very new product. bonds got bought just fine in the last 200 years before CDS’s. countries defaulted. they got punished, life went on.what is it that you think is new here?”They are looking to shed their risks, not add to them by buying sovereigns issued by governments that cannot meet their obligations. “wrong. they are upping leverage to to get better absolute returns from low yield bonds.and he did predict catastrophe.listen to the first 3 minutes again.he breathlessly warns of a collapse on tuesday and news so urgent that there was not even time to edit this interview.the guy is a hysteric and the banking collapse he describes is totally imaginary.why lead with that if it’s not your message?i think you are giving this commodities permabull and conspiracy theorist too much credit.he’ll get mauled when the cycle shifts. guys like him are always yelling “gold $10,000″ right at the top.

    • Ballermann2007 sagt:Ich und mein bester koglele Wir haben alles durch gemacht Frauen, Faschos, Bullen Schle4gereien, stress, streit, krankenhaus, ausnfcchterungszelle. Alles hat uns nur noch mehr zusammen geschweidft. Ich sag das nicht einfach so- aber wir sind so’ das wir ffcr einander sterben wfcrden Sowas findet man nur unter Skins Punks.

    • I would love to see the results for ebay and paypal. I know for a fact from my research ebay & paypal (ebay owns paypal) will not answer emails or phone calls. its shameful a billion dollar company will not give decent customer service. Thats why I sell and buy more on amazon.com

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

.