15% of companies do not respond to customers' e-mails

About 15% of the companies surveyed by Customer Respect Group did not reply to email inquiries, and another 14% did so only partially. Overall, 40% of all inquiries sent to retailers resulted in a timely response, with 70% of those responses arriving within a day.

About 15% of the companies surveyed by Customer Respect Group did not reply to email inquiries, and another 14% did so only partially. Overall, 40% of all inquiries sent to retailers resulted in a timely response, with 70% of those responses arriving within a day. Online customers, in general, expect to receive an answer within 24 hours.

Based on its findings, the CRG assigns a Customer Respect Index to each surveyed company, with 10 being the highest score. Amazon.com scored highest overall among specialty retailers with a CRI of 8. Ann Taylor Stores, Foot Locker and Pottery Barn tied for second with 7.9, Lowe's Cos. was third with 7.8. Payless ShoeSource was at the bottom with a CRI of 4.7.

Among general merchandisers, Sears, Roebuck & Co. topped the list with a 7.8, followed, in order, by Wal-Mart Stores, 7.6; and Kohl's, 7.5. May Department Stores was last with a 4.5. Among food and drug stores, Kroger was No. 1 with 6.9; Walgreen was second with 6.8 and Albertson's third with 6.7. Safeway was last with a CRI of 4.6.

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