Service Seals: The Basics You Need to Know

By Sarah Etter

October 11, 2012

As more companies hunt for ways to set themselves apart from the competition, the prospect of a service seal that assures visitors they can trust a website’s security, checkout, and customer support sounds pretty tempting.

Case in point: Our GNC Case Study details how the specialty retailer of health and nutrition products received and tested the optimal placement of a service seal that then helped it boost conversions and decrease cart abandonment.

That got us wondering what websites can expect during the evaluation process, as well as the benefits of service seals. So we sat down with STELLAService’s co-founder John Ernsberger to find out more about these seals and what companies can expect.

Q: What's the importance of service seals for websites?  

A: As selection and price become less of a differentiator in online commerce, retailers must provide great service as a way to separate themselves from the competition. It's the new competitive battleground. So, keeping this in mind, you can easily communicate the message of providing fantastic service to shoppers by utilizing service seals. It automatically creates a layer of credibility and uniqueness about your business - calming the customer’s fear that they may not get the correct product shipped, or they'll have trouble returning the product, or they won't be able to reach a CSR if they have a question. It helps strengthen your marketing message around your current "service-focused statements.” Everyone can claim they have the best service, but a third-party seal really brings credibility to that statement.

Q: What should an online retailer think about when considering asking for a service seal?

A: Well, first, marketers should be careful of those who issue trustmarks without conducting a thorough evaluation. It’s all about credibility. If every site on the Internet is eligible for a certain trustmark, it provides no value to the consumer. Consider trustmarks as a reward for offering fantastic service, not simply flare for your site. But, once a business qualifies for a trustmark, marketers should think creatively about how to leverage that mark. STELLAService has seen deployment of its seal on homepages, in checkout, in email marketing campaigns and printed catalogues.

Q: What can online retailers expect during a service evaluation?

A: STELLAService prides itself on being stealthy about evaluations. With more than 250 metrics, we try to evaluate every touchpoint in the customer experience. We place orders from three regions in the U.S., and pose daily service questions via phone, email, live chat, and Twitter. The evaluation is quite granular. For instance, we not only know if a retailer provides a return slip, but we know if that return slip is adhesive. We want the truest delivery of service from a retailer, so we provide no clues to retailers on when they can expect an evaluation.

Sarah Etter is the former the senior editor at Monetate. Before joining Monetate, she was a writer for various online and print publications, and served as the associate editor of The Internet & Marketing Report newsletter. Sarah also loves fiction writing and ice hockey... yes, ice hockey.

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