Nii A. Ahene

Q and A with Ty McMahan of STELLAService – Emerging eCommerce Spotlight

With both Amazon and Google pushing customer service metrics to the forefront of the eCommerce buying experience it’s becoming increasingly clear that delivering quality customer care and support will continue go grow as a key differentiator for online retailers as opposed to price and/or selection in the past.

One of the leading innovators in the space is STELLAservice, a company that evaluates and rates businesses based on the overall quality of the online customer experience.

I recently spoke with Ty McMahan of STELLAService to learn about more about their company.

Nii: Describe the STELLAService offering for businesses in 140 characters?

Ty: We produce customer service ratings and data to help consumers and businesses alike.

N: When did you guys get started and what led the team to building the seal and service offering?

Ty McMahan

Ty McMahan

Ty: The idea was born in 2009 after we recognized that price was converging online and selection was becoming less of a differentiator for businesses. How else do companies differentiate themselves to shoppers? Service! We vetted the idea with several ecommerce professionals and officially launched our first ratings in early 2010. Zappos.com became our first partner to display the seal and it was off to the races.

N: How can an online retailer benefit from incorporating the STELLAService Seal on their website?

Ty: Consumers buy more and spend more money on account of great customer service. The STELLA seal is the only mark on the Web to credibly communicate that a retailer has a track record of great service. In other words, for retailers displaying the seal, we’ve noticed a material increase in conversion rate and other key performance indicators (KPIs) on account of the seal.

N: Talk a little bit about the STELLAService rating system, what does it take to be highly rated by STELLAService?

Ty: We have a team of mystery shoppers that interact with retailers on a daily basis. We use more than 350 metrics to measure usability of the online store, shipping and returns and customer support. For example, not only can we tell you which retailers ship with a return label, but we can also tell you which of those retailers ship a return label that is adhesive. At the end of the day, great service is simple: be fast, friendly and helpful. We champion retailers that offer a friction-less experience.

N: What’s next for the STELLAService development team?

Ty: We’re 100% focused on our new data product called STELLA Metrics. It is intended to help retailers measure, benchmark and improve their overall service delivery chain.

N: How can a merchant get started with implementing the STELLAService for their business?

Ty: The unique thing about STELLAService is that we must “cover” your company in order to potentially leverage the seal and/or data products. We’ve rated over 4,000 stores already, however if your business is not one of those, you can submit your information here to start the process of getting rated.

About the AuthorNii is COO of CPC Strategy, a shopping feed management agency and is responsible for day-to-day business operations and long-term financial, tactical and strategic planning for the company. He has been with CPC Strategy since January of 2007. Prior to working with CPC Strategy, Nii was a product manager at eBay working on algorithmic merchandising and reviews and guides. See all posts by this author here.