Aug 23, 2021
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​Major e-tailers fail in Which? customer service survey, but M&S shines

Aug 23, 2021

Five stars good, one star poor. Sports Direct, JD Sports Fashion and Debenhams are among nine UK brands named as the worst internet retailers for customer service, according to rankings published by Which? Top of the ratings pile? Marks & Spencer, which was awarded five stars.

Marks & Spencer scores highly in online survey

The consumer group asked more than 5,000 shoppers who had had problems with orders during the pandemic (March 2020 and March 2021) how well, or poorly, different retailers resolved their complaints. Main complaints were delivery problems and unhelpful staff.

Each was asked to rate the helpfulness of staff, the ease of making a complaint, the speed and efficiency with which it was resolved and access to customer support. The scores were collated to give an overall rating.

Almost nine out of 10 M&S customers were happy with the solution offered to their problem. Many were impressed that its phone line was open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Also performing well was Amazon, receiving five stars in four of the five categories.

At the other end of the scale, JD Sports, Sports Direct and Debenhams not only averaged one star out of five, they also received one-star ratings when specifically asked about helpfulness of staff.

Sports Direct’s customers gave just one star for the ease of making a complaint and the helpfulness of support staff. One in five said that they were unlikely to shop there again. One customer even described the service as “unhelpful and unaccommodating”.

Overall, the research found that delivery problems were common, with three out of 10 of those surveyed complaining of missing or delayed deliveries, and one in five struggling to return unwanted items or faulty products.

Two out of three of those questioned came to an agreeable solution with the retailer, but some were not happy with the outcome. One in 10 said that their problem had not been resolved or they had not been offered a solution.

More than half believed that some online retailers used the pandemic as an excuse for poor service.

Which? spokesman Adam French said: “The pandemic saw some of the best and worst of customer service. But with online shopping now becoming the norm, we should get the same level of customer service when shopping online as when shopping in a store. When it comes to spending our hard-earned cash online it is essential we know which retailers we can trust to put right anything that goes wrong.

“With the extraordinary growth in online shopping set to continue as we emerge from the pandemic, retailers who are falling short must up their game to make sure no one is left frustrated and out of pocket because of bad customer service”.

A spokesperson for JD Sports told The Times newspaper: “Our logistics and customer service operations were faced with a unique set of challenges during this time period. We have made a number of improvements to our logistics and customer operations since this survey was conducted which have delivered considerable progress and we are pleased to see this being recognised by our customers with a significant improvement in our Trustpilot rating".

Sports Direct did not respond to a request for a comment.

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