Sam’s Club and Amazon.com Lead Retail Industry in 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings

We recently released the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings that ranks the customer experience of 268 companies across 19 industries based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers.

Sam’s Club and Amazon.com continue their reign as the highest-rated retailers for the third straight year, each earning an “excellent” rating. Sam’s Club narrowly beat out Amazon.com for the top spot, receiving an 81% rating and an overall rank of 8th out of 268 companies across 19 industries. With ratings of 79% each, Costco, PetSmart, Ace Hardware, and BJ’s Wholesale Club also earned high marks from customers. At the other end of the spectrum, RadioShack and Foot Locker tied for last place among 45 retailers. This is the fourth straight year that RadioShack has been at the bottom of the industry.

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Here are some additional findings from the retail industry: Read more of this post

Report: What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience, 2014

1402_WhatHappensAfterGoodBadExperiences_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience, 2014. The report, which includes 19 data charts, examines which companies and industries provide the most bad experiences, what impact those experiences have on spending, and how the negative impacts of bad experiences can be mitigated by good service recovery. The report also examines how consumers share their good and bad experiences with companies as well as with other people. Here’s the executive summary:

To understand the effect of good and bad experiences, we asked 10,000 U.S. consumers about their recent interactions with 268 companies across 19 industries. Results show that Internet services and TV services are the industries most likely to deliver a bad experience to their customers, while grocery chains are the least likely to. At the company level, Scottrade had the smallest percentage of customers reporting a recent bad experience with the company and Time Warner Cable had the highest. More than half of the customers who encountered a bad experience at a fast food chain, credit card issuer, grocery store, or hotel either decreased their spending with the company or stopped altogether. However, our data shows that a good service recovery effort can help mitigate a bad experience. Unfortunately, many firms—especially in the banking, Internet services, and TV services sectors—aren’t very good at service recovery. In addition to the consequences of bad interactions, we also examined which channels customers use to share their good and bad experiences and how these changed across age groups. We then compared these results to survey responses from the past two years. We also uncovered a negative bias inherent in how customers provide feedback. ING Direct, Residence Inn, and Fairfield Inn have the most negative bias in the feedback they receive directly from customers, while Hy-Vee and Hyundai have the most negative bias on Facebook. 

Click link to see full list of industries and companies covered in this report (.pdf).

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One of the most interesting analyses in the report is the look at how service recovery after a bad experience affects the spending pattern of consumers. Here’s a summary of one of the charts showing just how important it is for a company to recover well after making a mistake:

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Here are some other insights from the research:

  • Sixteen percent of consumers who have interacted with TV service and Internet service providers report having a bad experience over the previous six months. Next on the list are wireless carriers, with 12% of their customers reporting a bad experience. At the other end of the spectrum, only 3% of consumers report a bad experience with grocery chains and 4% report having a bad experience with fast food chains.
  • The five companies with the most customers reporting bad experiences are Time Warner Cable (25%), Motel 6 (22%), Coventry Health Care (21%), and Comcast (21%). There were 10 companies with only 1% or less of their customers reporting bad experiences: Scottrade, Chick-fil-A, H.E.B., Whole Foods, ShopRite, ING Direct, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Vanguard, and True Value.
  • More than one-quarter of consumers who have a bad experience stop spending with computer makers, car rental agencies, credit card issuers, hotel chains, and software companies. The impact of bad experiences is less costly for parcel delivery services, wireless carriers, health plans, TV service providers, Internet service providers, and grocery chains, as less than 15% of their customers with bad experience stopped spending.
  • The industries that are the best at responding to a bad experience are investment firms, major appliances, retailers, and car rental agencies. The industries that are the worst at responding to a bad experience are TV service providers, wireless carriers, Internet service providers, parcel delivery services, and health plans.
  • Thirty-two percent of consumers give feedback directly to companies after a very bad experience and 23% give feedback after a very good experience.
  • Overall, 25- to 34-year-olds are the most likely to share feedback about their experiences. After a good experience 57% tell a friend directly, 28% share on Facebook, and 18% put a comment or rating on a review site. After a bad experience, 60% tell a friend directly, 31% share on Facebook, and 20% write a review.

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The bottom line: Make sure to recover quickly after a bad experience

Sam’s Club and Amazon.com Lead Retail Industry in 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings

We recently released the 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings that ranks the customer experience of 246 companies across 19 industries based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers. Here are highlights from the retail industry:

  • The average industry rating increased from 71% in 2012 to 74% in 2013.
  • Sixteen of the 24 retailers that were in both the 2012 and 2013 ratings showed improvement.
  • Three of the top 10 companies across all industries are retailers: Amazon.com and Sam’s Club (tied for #5 overall), and Ace Hardware (#7 overall). Sam’s Club was the leader in 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings and Amazon.com led in 2011.
  • Radio Shack is the lowest-rated retailer for the third consecutive year and 191st overall in 2013. The retailer is also the lowest scoring across all three underlying components, functional, accessible, and emotional.
  • Amazon.com and Costco are the top rated in the functional component, Ace Hardware is the top rated in the accessible component, and Nordstrom is the top in the emotional component.
  • Office Depot (increase of 11 percentage points) and Barnes & Noble (increase of eight percentage points) made the largest improvements in the industry from 2012.
  • JCPenney (decrease of six percentage points), Sam’s Club (decrease of four percentage points), and Lowe’s (decrease of four percentage points) had the largest declines from 2012.
  • Here’s a link to industry results from the 2012 ratings.

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Report: 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings

Temkin Ratings website

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We published the 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings. The report analyzes feedback from 10,000 U.S. consumers to rate 246 organizations across 19 industries. Congratulations to the top firms in this year’s ratings: Publix, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Chick-fil-A, Amazon.com, and Sam’s Club.

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You can also download the data for $395.

The Temkin Experience Ratings are based on evaluating three elements of experience:

  1. Functional: How well do experiences meet customers’ needs?
  2. Accessible: How easy is it for customers to do what they want to do?
  3. Emotional: How do customers feel about the experiences?

Here are the top and bottom companies in the ratings:

2013TER_BestWorstHere’s how the industries compare with each other:

(NOTE: We have published posts on the detailed results for all 19 industries)

2013TER_IndustriesHere are the companies that are leaders and laggards across the 19 industries:

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In this year’s ratings, 37% of companies earned “good” or “excellent” scores, while 28% are rated as “poor” or ”very poor.” Companies with at least a “good” rating grew by nine-percentage points since 2012 and by 21-points since 2011. Of the 203 companies that are included in both the 2012 and 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings, 57% firms had at least a modest increase. The companies that made the largest improvement over 2012 are Citibank, TriCare, TD Ameritrade, Office Depot, EarthLink, Hardees, and Regions Bank.

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Get the Data

Do you want to see all of the data? You can purchase an excel spreadsheet for $395…

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To view all of our ratings (experience, loyalty, trust, forgiveness, customer service, and web experience), visit the Temkin Ratings website

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The bottom line: Customer experience is improving, but there’s still a long way to go

Why Staples Refuses to Sell Computers to Customers

Why do some Staples employees refuse to sell computers to customers who don’t want to buy warrantees? That’s right, it appears that Staple’s employees use what they call “walking the customer” out of the store if they aren’t willing to buy a warrantee or other extras with a computer.

Shall we blame the employees? No! As I describe in The Six Laws of Customer Experience: employees do what is measured, incented, and celebrated. This is a breakdown of the system, not the people.

When a situation like this happens, leaders need to ask themselves: what are we doing that is causing this type of behavior? In this case with Staples, the behavior seems to be driven by a goal for each store to have an average of $200 of add-ons (including warrantees) for every computer that it sells. This goal puts pressure on store managers and employees that translates to pressure on customers and, at least occasionally, to a downright refusal to sell computers.

Here’s what the New York Times uncovered from Staples employees:

The average needs to be $200. In other words, each time you sell a computer, you need to sell, on average, $200 worth of other stuff. And that average is carefully tracked. Sales staffers who aren’t meeting their goals are coached, and if that doesn’t work, she and other employees said, there will be disciplinary action that can lead up to termination; underperformers can also end up with lots of night and weekends shifts or even a reduction in scheduled hours.

Unfortunately this situation is not uncommon. I was recently at an Enterprise Rental Car where an employee kept trying to sell me additional insurance. After I rebutted his first few offers, he got more and more ornery about it and kept trying to make me feel like an idiot for not taking the insurance (which I knew that I did not need). I’m pretty confident that his behavior was driven by some sales incentive/program.

Companies often create goals that make perfect sense at corporate headquarters. $200 per computer or an increase in car insurance probably generates nice looking numbers in a spreadsheet. Why not set it as a goal? Why not hold managers and employees accountable? It’s great for our bottom line and it seems so reasonable…

What’s missing from the equation is an understanding of the environment that these decisions create. Every incentive or goal that you place on an employee must interact with every thing else you want them to do. When you overemphasize a goal (like $200 per computer), then you are asking  the organization (maybe not explicitly, but quite adamantly) that it should forget about some other goals and focus on this one. If it’s hard to sell $200 of extras per computer, then the organization figures out how to reach the goal by not selling computers if the customer doesn’t want a warrantee.

Staples and Enterprise Rental Car are pretty well run companies. They just forgot the 5th rule of customer experience…

Employees do what is measured, incented, and celebrated.

The bottom line: Make it easy for employees to do the right thing

Report: Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2012

We just published a Temkin Group report, Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2012. It provides NPS data on 175 U.S. companies across 19 industries. Here’s the executive summary:

USAA took the top two spots for its banking and insurance businesses while HSBC came in at the bottom for banking and credit cards. Our analysis of differences across consumer demographic segments showed that NPS tends to go up with age, doesn’t vary much by income levels, and is often highest with Asians. We also asked consumers what would make them more likely to recommend the companies and found that promoters are more likely to select lower prices and detractors are more likely to select better customer service. While there is some debate about the efficacy of NPS, our analysis shows that promoters are much more likely than detractors to purchase more in the future across all industries. To help you implement a successful NPS program, we’ve included eight tips such as don’t believe in an “ultimate question” and use control charts, not pinpointed goals. The industries included in this report are airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, major appliance makers, parcel delivery services, rental car agencies, retailers, software firms, TV service providers, and wireless carriers.

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(includes the data)

The industries included in this report are airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, major appliance makers, parcel delivery services, rental car agencies, retailers, software firms, TV service providers, and wireless carriers.

The report contains the following components:

  • NPS for 175 companies across 19 industries
  • NPS differences based on age, income, and ethnicity of consumers
  • Improvement areas selected by promoters and detractors by industry
  • Connection between NPS and future purchases by industry
  • Eight tips for implementing a successful NPS program

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(Includes the data)

The bottom line:  Companies need to give customers a reason to recommend them

2012 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings

Temkin Group has just released the 2012
Every company makes mistakes now and then, but how willing are customers to forgive the company when it happens? Forgiveness is a valuable asset that companies earn by consistently meeting customers’ needs.

We introduced the Temkin Forgiveness Ratings last year to gauge which companies are earning this important element of loyalty. The 2012 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings include 206 companies from 18 industries and is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers.

Congratulations to the top firms in this year’s ratings: USAA, Hyatt, credit unions, H.E.B., Hy-Vee, Dollar Rent A Car, Chick-fil-A, PublixCostco, and Amazon.com. Of course, not every company enjoys such a high degree of forgiveness from their customers, especially the companies at the bottom of the 2012 ratings: Citigroup, Charter Communications, HSBCChrysler dealers, EarthLink, Bank of America, Comcast, Quest, and US Airways.

We also examined industry averages and found that grocery chains have earned the most forgiveness from consumers followed by retailers, appliance makers, and parcel delivery services. But consumers are not very likely to forgive mistakes by credit card issuers, Internet service providers, and TV service providers.

We examined how individual companies are rated relative to their industry peers. USAA holds the top two spots, outpacing its credit card and banking peers by more than 30 percentage points. USAA also outpaces the insurance industry by more than 20 percentage points. Credit unions, Hyatt, US Cellular, Dollar Rent A Car, Chick-fil-A, and Bright House Networks are also more than 15 percentage points above their industry averages. Five companies fall 15 or more percentage points below their industry’s average Temkin Forgiveness Ratings: Chrysler dealers, Citigroup, Travelers, Charter Communications, and RadioShack.

We also analyzed changes from the 2011 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings. The research shows that consumers are more forgiving this year than they were last year. Led by banks and insurance carriers, all 12 industries that were in both the 2011 and 2012 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings showed improvement.
Sixty-eight of the 139 companies that were in the 2011 and 2012 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings earned double-digit improvements and four companies improved by more than 25 percentage points: TD Ameritrade, Lenovo, USAA, and credit unions. Ten companies lost ground over the last year with the biggest drops coming for Citigroup, Continental Airlines, Travelers, Sears, Holiday Inn Express, and The Hartford.

Do you want to see the data? Go to the Temkin Ratings website where you can sort through all of the results for free. You can even purchase the underlying data if you want to get more access.

The bottom line: To err is possible, to earn forgiveness is divine

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