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Nov 3, 2010 | 3 minute read

Customer Service Scorecard: What’s Your Grade?

written by Linda Bustos

As we near the holiday shopping season, online businesses are scrambling to get email campaigns, paid search ads, home page banners, SEO tweaks and last-minute site updates out the door. But customer service policies and features are just as important to winning sales - especially when you've got many competitors.

So how does your stack up in the customer service department? There are a lot of small things that impact customer service, so I've developed a Customer Service Scorecard which you can download for free to find out your CSQ (Customer Service Quotient). Don't have Microsoft Excel? You can access the Google Doc version here.

How to use the scorecard

First, make sure you're using the appropriate scorecard for your industry. There are 2 tabs in the spreadsheet, one for general retail (clothing, electronics, furniture, toys etc), and one for the software/telco industry.

Each line item has a point value from 1-4, with 4 being most important. You either get full marks or no marks for an item. For example, 24/7 customer service is worth 2 marks. You can't get 1 mark for 9-5 Monday to Friday service. Customers can either reach you any time or they can't.

The line item point values total 100, but you can get bonus points for certain features like a free return shipping policy or the ability to re-order items from past invoices. If you score over 100, please let me know in the comments, you deserve an award!

Retail Customer Service Scorecard

Below is the content of the retail scorecard. You can't enter your own data into this post, so make sure to download the real thing (or view the Google Doc).

Customer service number clearly visible on every page (4)
Customer service has its own link (not buried under “help” or “Contact Us”) (4)
24/7 customer service - telephone, live chat or both (2)
Live chat button is easy to find on all pages of the site (2)
Emails are answered within 24 hours (3)
Business hours and expected email response times are listed on the site (1)
Customer self-serve knowledge base or FAQ available (1)
Twitter customer service channel (1)
Customers on hold are provided with average wait times, number of calls ahead or opportunity to leave a call-back number (1)
Customers are assigned a dedicated service rep (1)

Clear links to shipping, returns and privacy policy (4)
Returns policy extended for holidays (2)
Site search tool includes shipping, returns policies (1)
Bonus: free return shipping [2pts]
Bonus: 365 days to return [1pt]
Bonus: Ship to store [2pts]

Persistent cart (4)
Personalized recommendations (3)
Search refinement tools (filters, did you mean, autocorrect) (3)
Show stock availability in search, category and product pages (3)
Gift finder or other guided selling tool (3)
Product reviews (3)
Customer Q&A tools (2)
Offer contextual help (2)
Show shipping calculator on product page (1)
Shipping in X business days (1)
Bonus: Customer can request email notification when item back in stock [1]
Bonus: Shipping by X date (people can’t count in their heads) [1]
Use website monitoring (3)
Customer service questions are logged and run by the ecommerce design and usability team on a regular basis (3)

Show that the product is in-stock (2)
Offer pre-checkout shipping/tax calculator (1)
Provide a delivery estimate (2)
Offer gift receipt option with price suppressed (1)
Offer gift wrapping and/or gift message (1)

Secure checkout (4)
Guest checkout (4)
Show customer service contact options clearly (live chat, telephone) (3)
Friendly error handling (2)
Email cart (1)
Save cart for later (1)
Move cart items to a wish list (1)
Bonus: reorder from order history [1pt]
Bonus: Single sign-on across sites [1pt]Bonus: one cart for all stores [1pt]

Offer order tracking (3)
Send email order confirmation (4)
Send email with a branded sender address (2)
Include a tracking number in confirmation email (2)
Include customer service contact information in confirmation email (2)
Send email when item has shipped with tracking number (1)
Don’t auto-check boxes in email signup (2)
Phone customers when there is a problem with their order, don’t rely on email (3)

TOTAL SCORE (out of 100)

What's your grade?

86-100+ Stellar Service
65-85 Good Service
50-64 Average Service
0-49 Needs Improvement

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