Customer Service Scorecard: What’s Your Grade?

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 ACCESS
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)

POLICIES
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]

GENERAL WEB DESIGN AND USABILITY
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)

CART SUMMARY
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)

CHECKOUT
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]

POST CHECKOUT
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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9 Responses to “Customer Service Scorecard: What’s Your Grade?”

  1. Estavan says:

    Score Card did not download properly.

  2. shumisha says:

    Hi

    Talking about customers, would’nt it be great if the spreadsheet was in another format than xlsx, something only some of your readers can handle? ;)

    Other than that, best blog around, please keep up this fantastic work you’re doing!

    Cheers

  3. shumisha says:

    quick response, pretty good “customer” service ;)
    thks

  4. Jack says:

    Cheers for this, that scorecard is extremely useful. I’m designing a lot of e-commerce websites at the moment, and it works well as a checklist with what to incorporate into the designs :)

  5. Great idea, it will keep people thinking about customer service, something which tends to get lost in the shuffle and shouldn’t. Everyone is so focused on ramping up their sites for the holidays, doing a social media push, but also should make sure they have top notch customer service to keep people coming back throughout the year.

  6. Roland says:

    Excellent work once again Linda! Of course this list is missing the secret sauce (of course being that it’s secret it can’t be written!) — in all seriousness I’ve found (in both providing support and receiving it) that the human element (ok now I sound like a DOW commercial), is the single biggest factor in providing good support.

    People are willing to forgive many of the things on this list if you just show them that you actually care about them (the point about calling instead of emailing definitely fits in this category). The old adage about “service with a smile” really does do wonders. Being friendly, PROACTIVE (this is where you blow people away!), and sympathetic will get you customers for life.

  7. Jack, above, made a very insightful comment — that this list works well as a checklist for what to incorporate into ecommerce design. I’d recommend all web designers reference this list in order to get out of the branding-by-color-oriented design system, and into the minds of the business’ most valuable “owners” — the customer.

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