Customer service — whether superb or subpar — can seriously affect your shopping experience. StellaService, a research firm that focuses specifically on the topic, conducted a survey to identify the 25 companies with the best customer service out there, and 16 fashion retailers made the cut. The list includes a mix of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce only names, spanning the gamut from Coach (coming in eighth place) to the Vitamin Shoppe to 1-800-Flowers. So, how were the top service contenders singled out? The companies were judged by StellaService from August to October 2015, on various aspects of the shopping experience that can make a purchase awesome or completely awful — return policies; shipping; responsiveness via phone, email, and online chat, and in-store service. L.L. Bean nabbed the No. 1 spot, for its particularly speedy responsiveness to customer inquiries. StellaService’s research analysis (a.k.a., shopping in the name of an industry survey) found that L.L. Bean reps could be reached in under an hour via email, and less than half a minute via phone, according to Business Insider.
Other fashion brands that came in with especially high marks for making customers happy: Net-A-Porter, Shopbop, Mr Porter, Burberry, Zappos, and Kate Spade, respectively. Net-A-Porter was singled out for exceptional help via phone, while Burberry's handling of returns was highlighted by the survey. David Yurman came in 10th place; J.Crew ranked 16th best in customer service, and Moda Operandi, Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, and Express scored spots on the end of the list. As for department stores that truly bring it in terms of pleasant, full-service retail experiences (as opposed to the kind where you have to battle through pushy crowds and even pushier salespeople), two brands stood out, according to StellaService. Barneys New York came in 13th on the list, while Nordstrom ranked 18th for its (often-lauded) service quotient. As far as shops that don't make us want to tear our hair out mid-store go, this seems like a pretty representative list. Which of your favorites didn't make the cut?