Amazon.Com Wins Best Customer Service

Online megastore Amazon.com won top honors in a national customer service survey released last Thursday. Here’s the top ten list, according to a National Retail Federation/American Express study.

1. Amazon.com
2. Nordstrom
3. L.L. Bean
4. Overstock.com
5. Lane Bryant
6. Boscov’s
7. Kohl’s
8. REI
9. Land’s End
10. Macy’s

We’re slightly suspicious, because we’ve heard nothing but ill about Overstock.com.

Of the list, a “consumer insights” executive said, “Since today’s consumers are faced with countless options, they’re able to be more demanding of the level of service they require,” Evans said. “Regardless of channel, the sweet spot will always be service, and expectations only continue to increase.”

What do you think of the list? Does it jibe with your experience at these stores? — BEN POPKEN

(Thanks to jpac!)

Comments

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  1. acambras says:

    Kohl’s? I can NEVER get any help in there.

  2. Ben Popken says:

    Note who the survey was conducted by. Not exactly a disinterested party.

  3. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    Amazon? They outsource their call center to India. L.L. Bean is waaay better than Amazon!

  4. Amazon.com My mother says she can’t ever get books delivered in a decent amount of time.

    Lane Bryant A salesperson once spent a good amount of time at the end of the day figuring out which combination of discounts would save me the most money. Generally helpful but not stalkerish.

    I can’t comment on the others (never bought anything from them).

  5. Dustbunny says:

    Lane Bryant?? WTF? I mean, they’re ok, but nothing special as far as customer service goes. Seems slightly suspicious that they’re ranked ahead of Land’s End which really does have great customer service.

  6. thwarted says:

    Amazon.com? Are they serious? I stopped ordering from them altogether because it takes so freaking long to get anything.

    Last year, my sister-in-law sent us a Nintendo DS game off my wishlist for my birthday in September. In March, after many “we have it in stock and it should ship next week” emails, she finally canceled the order and went and bought it at Toys ‘R Us.

    Same with the Buffy calendar I tried to buy for one of my coworkers last year. They said it was in stock, but after four or five “Your order is delayed but should ship soon” emails, I finally gave up.

    L.L. Bean is great, though.

  7. loudguitars says:

    I’ve never had problems with Amazon, but one who should be higher is REI. Their customer service is consistently outstanding. Plus if you’re a member, you can can return anything at any time after purchase if you’re not satisfied with it for any reason, and you don’t need a receipt. Now THAT is going the extra mile.

    Also glad to see LL Bean on there. I’ve dealt with their Direct To Business folk quite a bit in the last year, and they’re awesome.

  8. homerjay says:

    Who the hell is Boscov and how did he get listed among these giants?
    This list, like most “surveys” is clearly flawed.

    Locally we have a “Best of” list that comes out in the paper every year. Best chinese restaurant, best tanning, best gym… bla bla bla.
    Its all about which store can give out the most surveys.

  9. Harvey Birdman says:

    L.L. Bean kicks ass.

    Anybody know about a consumer group who might have (through open records requests to states Attorney Generals and the FTC) compiled a list of the highest complaint generating companies for each state or all states?

  10. gone725 says:

    What about Small Dog?? Based on the “No iPod, Soap!” story alone http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/customer-service/no-ip… they should at least get honorable mention.

  11. cynon says:

    I’ve not had a problem with Amazon, so I can’t complain. But um… LL Bean, Lands End and Victoria’s Secret have about the best CS folks I’ve ever encountered.

    As for Overstock? Once was enough with them… I’ll never do business with them again. They shouldn’t even be on this list.

  12. RumorsDaily says:

    I actually have been quite happy with Amazon. On two occasions I received a double CD or a double DVD in which both disks inside the package were disk 1 (weird, eh?). Amazon took care of it right away and never even asked for the old one back. I had an issue with a gift card once and they took care of that right away too, no questions asked.

    When I’ve had a problem, they’ve fixed it.

  13. Triteon says:

    The only way Amazon could be above LL Bean is if Amazon orally serviced you on delivery.

  14. alicetheowl says:

    I’ve never had any complaints about Amazon (though they were pretty sneaky about getting me to sign up for a year about Amazon Prime – but I’ve made good use of the service, so no complaints), at Lane Bryant . . .

    Well, their online customer service is great. But every time I step foot in the local store, I get pissy store clerks who either ignore me the entire time I’m there, or who pester me about signing up for their charge account. I sent them an e-mail a while back calling attention to this, and got a generic response and “the regional manager will contact you.” It’s been six weeks; haven’t heard a thing.

    So I’m wary, seeing them up there. Not to mention, they’re a bit specialized. I wouldn’t think that enough people shop there to make up enough feedback for them to end up on a top 10.

  15. Customer service covers a wide gamut that includes such variables as flexible return policies, clean restrooms, personal shoppers and friendly sales associates.

    Note that over half of the criteria listed here doesn’t even apply to Amazon… (Or lands end for that matter).

    To claim that Lands End, which will often take back purchased merchandise years after it’s been used, is worse than Amazon is just back-asswards.

  16. wikkit says:

    I’m surprised Newegg.com didn’t make the list. They’re an electronics retailer, so they may not have been the target group for the study, but my experience (and any experience I’ve ever read or heard of) has been fantastic.

    Additional, my experiences with Amazon and L.L. Bean have been great. I can’t commemnt on the rest.

  17. exkon says:

    I’ve never had any trouble with Amazon.

    I’ve had defective products, and new ones sent to me before I even shipped mine to them!!

  18. LocalYokel says:

    I’m surprised Amazon made it that high on the list. I’ve had good experiences with them in the past, but recently it seems to be slipping. I had a package get lost in transit, and never show up. I sent multiple e-mails to Amazon and got no response at all.

    REI, on the other hand, has hands down the best customer service I’ve ever heard of. I will go out of my way to buy something there just because I know they back it up so well, and won’t hassle me for returning it.

  19. KesCaesar says:

    I only ordered from Overstock.com once, and it was only a set of sheets, but it came without delay- actually quite quickly. Just throwing that out there. :)

  20. AaronM says:

    They left out K-Mart on that list!

  21. KesCaesar says:

    Also- what about Netlflix? I love those guys! I’ve never had a significant problem, but the one time I did (ie, a movie should have been available but wasn’t as part of a system glitch I suppose), they gave me a discount for the next two months and a heartfelt apology. NetFlix ftw, imo.

  22. anjamu says:

    I think a lot of people who have been throttled by Netflix wouldn’t put them on a top 10 list. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great, innovative service, but my boyfriend and I experienced their throttling this summer and, well, you’re not getting what you pay for.

  23. AcidReign says:

    …..Netflix: awful. Macy’s is really good, but you will pay through the nose there if you’re not careful! Aggressively track those “one day sales.”

    …..Lose that Amazon password, and see what happens!

  24. KesCaesar says:

    @Anjamu –
    Some details, plz?

  25. ikes says:

    REI is only #8?! FOOLS!

  26. DougDascenzo says:

    AcidReign: “Macy’s is really good”

    I completely disagree. Last year, I ordered a comforter online from them, and after 2 weeks I hadn’t received it.

    I called to inquire where my comforter was, and they told me they had delivered it to Green Bay, WI, despite the fact that I live in Chicago and provided the correct shipping address. When I asked why they would do such a thing, they said it was because the deliveryman couldn’t find my name in the building intercom/directory. So, Macy’s just randomly found someone else in the country with the same name and shipped it there. Fortunately, the random person with the same name happened to be my father (who, incidentally, has never ordered anything from Macy’s so his name wasn’t on file with them).

    They had absolutely no idea that was my dad; they just found someone in the country with my name and shipped my package there. When I informed them it was my father, they suggested I just pick up the comforter from him, despite the fact that he lives over 200 miles away.

    After about 4 phone calles, I finally got Macy’s to agree to pick it up from him and re-deliver it to me, but the whole ordeal took over a month. Needless to say, I’ll never order from Macy’s again.

  27. Plasmafire says:

    Perhaps the Consumerist could make its own survey like who’s the best at customer service or who’s the worst, either way it could lead to a more accurate survey, even if its not a scientific one.

    Hmm.. I wonder is customer support suckage a regional thing, does it vary from state to state?

    Either way this survey doesn’t feel very “accurate” to me.

  28. anjamu says:

    KesCaesar -

    This MSNBC article should give you a rundown of the practice.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11262292/

  29. missdona says:

    Somebody get me an actual phone number for Lane Bryant’s customer service and I might believe this piece of garbage.

    It took an extra 10 minutes to spell my name to the outsouced Amazon.com CSR the other day.

    Give me a break, survey!

  30. Sheik says:

    I have only bought a few items from Amazon and all arrived on time.

    I bought a couch from LL Bean and had it delivered. I live on the top floor of a six-story walk-up. The CSR we ordered from said that the delivery man would help us carry the couch up, it was a different story once the couch arrived, late. BOTH delivery men, barely helped me get the thing off of their truck, nevermind help me carry it up to my apartment. Then on top of that the couch was a POS. But thats a different post.

    One company that I would highly recommend that wasn’t on the list is http://www.sweetwater.com. They are a pro-audio reseller. Not only do they have the best prices out there, the items always come on time, and you are assigned a CSR (in the US) that you deal with for every purchase in the future. After you receive the item(s) you get a phone call from the rep asking whether your satisfied or not. No catches, they don’t try to sell you anything else. But the icing on the cake is that they send you candy in you package.

  31. Ben Popken says:

    JH writes:

    “I see on your website you are showing that Amazon.com got the best thing since sliced bread award. I’d like to update your opinion by adding that from their webpage I was given over to DiscountDVD, who gave my credit card info and billing address to Infinity Resources who gave my info to Auto Gold who placed an unauthorized charge $119.99 on that card, which was on record at Amazon.com. Okay, Amazon may be cool, but they don’t distinguish between their affiliates who are not so “honest.” On one other occasion I bought a Panasonic DVD player recommended as their affiliate, that wouldn’t play DVD’s in the USA (region1) nor would it plug in to USA plugs. Return and Refund? Want a DVD player, cheap?

    Be warned. Amazon.com is not a protected site. Doing business with them has been my first experience with credit card fraud. Good luck, fellow consumers. Amazon’s off my list”

  32. Savage says:

    Whatever issues I have had with Amazon, their customer service took care of it quickly and properly.

    If you ever need to call Amazon.com their number is (800) 201-7575.

  33. Jennifer42 says:

    Overstock.com?! Bah. Those *&^% hosed me so bad (practically emptied my checking account, too) I filed with the BBB.

  34. kicka says:

    We had one very bad experience with Amazon (previously posted) that was eventually corrected, and one bad experience with Overstock (also corrected). I am not, however, surprised that each made the list. PS, I do want to laud Consumerist for the correct use of the word “jibe.”

  35. miss says:

    I think a lot of people forget that when they are ordering from Amazon, often times they are ordering from a person, not the company itself. While you can order items directly from Amazon, the site mainly acts as an intermediary like eBay. Shipping times, condition of the item are dependent on the person selling the item – which amongst my friends are just people/students who need extra cash.

  36. AcidReign says:

    …..@Doug Dascenzo: That’s terrible. I’ve never used Macy’s online. My local Macy’s folk in B’ham are pretty good. If I lived in Chicago, I’d be a Marshall Fields addict, I’m afraid! That store in the Loop is incredible!

  37. erroneous says:

    Thumbs WAY UP for REI. I worked there as a teenager, and they really have a great return policy. People return ridiculous stuff- canoes they’d obviously dropped off their trucks on the freeway, cookstoves with years worth of charring. Decades later, I’m a happy customer. The staff are generally helpful & really actually genuinely want what’s best for the customer. Totally nuts.

  38. Ran Kailie says:

    Lane Bryant in all of my experience has been awesome. They tend to be very helpful without stalking and the women often given good advice on clothing and things without forcing things down your throat. I like honesty in a sales person.

    They also take returns well, I had one of their Cacique bras for a month, ordered from the website (my size isn’t carried in stores), when the strap snapped off I took it right into a store and was able to return it and they even placed an order for a new one with my credit and had it shipped free.

    The only issue I ever had was one order I made that took FOREVER to be delivered but that was UPS’s fault, I had a single customer service rep call me every two days to give me a status after I called the first time. And afterwards I got a gift card for $20 bucks as an apology for something that wasn’t even their mistake.

    They’re an awesome store/company.

  39. acambras says:

    AcidReign,
    Alas, Macy’s just gobbled up Marshall Fields – I hear Chicagoans are pretty pissed about it.

  40. ajresearch says:

    No way would Kohls be on a legitimate list. The one and only time I went there was a complete disaster. When I went to pay for my purchases, the clerk called up some out of state customer service center for some sort of check verification and I was held for 20 full minutes while I was grilled about everything from my birthday to my residences for the last 7 years. WTF? I wrote a long letter to the customer service address on the website with a copy sent to the store itself. About a month later I received a brush off form letter saying that customer security was top concern and they were sorry if their protection policies were inconvenient. Sorry, not good enough for what I went through. I shop a lot and they have lost a fortune by losing me.

  41. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    I regularly order books, electronics, accessories, CDs, whatever from amazon and I never had any problems with them. The returns are really quick (although the refund process takes a while) and it’s all done online. The one time I called a CSR from the east coast at 2AM (I figure they’re at some call center like not in this country) b/c one book was delaying the whole order which had like 12 books, and they took care of it right away by putting that one book on a separate order. And everything either arrives on time or early. Never late. Although they do use too much packaging material for shipping.