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Warehouse worker reviewing CSAT scores during holiday season

How to improve CSAT despite longer fulfillment times this holiday season

This holiday season, the retail industry is expecting longer fulfillment times due to ongoing supply chain challenges, compounded by the accelerated growth of ecommerce. Even with consumers being able to get back to shopping in stores this year, we anticipate ecommerce to make another strong showing (Bain & Deloitte predict 7-9% increase in holiday sales), and with the continuing capacity crunch with carriers, we expect longer processing and delivery times as the infrastructure flexes to keep up. 

That said, it’s still critically important to provide a positive experience for your customers. Especially during the holidays, a late delivery could make or break the entire experience. We looked at aggregate CSAT data to determine what, if anything, could improve the customer experience, despite longer fulfillment times last holiday season. Spoiler alert: it’s all about customer communication. 

What is a customer satisfaction score (CSAT)? 

Customer satisfaction scores (CSATs) are a great measure of success for a business. This metric gives retailers deeper insight into the degree of positivity of a customer experience. You can use it to determine how happy your customers are with your product and the overall brand experience. 

Retailers who use the Narvar post-purchase experience often ask consumers to rate the delivery experience on a 5-star rating scale and provide an opportunity to add comments as well to get a better understanding of what went well...or not. We took a look at this data across our platform as a proxy for CSAT. 

Consumers expect swift fulfillment times and demand transparent communication

It’s clear that consumers wish to be informed about any updates to their purchase as it makes its way through the mailstream. In our 2020 consumer returns study, 36% of customers surveyed said they’d experienced extreme shipping delays during the pandemic, but 19% of those reported receiving good communication along the way which helped temper expectations and bolster sentiment. Especially if it’s bad news about a delay, 98% of consumers said they feel better about a retailer who proactively keeps them informed

Upon looking closely at Narvar data, we found that consumers expected items to be fulfilled by the retailer and inserted into the mailstream within 3 days

Retailer fulfillment time vs. CSAT score

The chart above reveals that as soon as the fulfillment time took more than 3 days without any communication from the retailer, the CSAT score dropped below 3 stars. But retailers who filled the extended gap with additional messaging were able to keep customers satisfied, as demonstrated by the 18% difference in feedback score compared to those who were radio-silent during fulfillment delays:

3.32 stars with messaging and 2.72 stars without


Sure, there are other factors to consider as an approach to this problem: hiring more seasonal staff to fulfill goods faster, etc. But knowing that there will be situations beyond your control that will prevent you from meeting that 3-day SLA, we’d argue that it’s almost more important to provide proactive communications to keep customers informed every step of the way . We’ve found that the average open rate for fulfillment delay emails is 70% — consumers obviously want to know!

Give Narvar a try 

Schedule a demo to see how our platform and its notifications can improve customer satisfaction for your brand. Narvar’s Post-Purchase Platform allows you to provide engaging experiences for all the moments that matter and to improve customer satisfaction through proactive communications every step of the way.

Michelle McNamara

As a senior content manager at Narvar, Michelle has a finger on the pulse of the ecommerce industry. She's spent close to a decade helping online retailers make sense of their post-purchase processes.

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