Sam’s Club and Amazon Deliver Best Customer Experience in Retail

This post examines the 24 retailers included in the 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings.

Sam’s Club was the top rated company across all industries and only one of eight organizations with an “excellent” rating. Five other retailers were in the top 20 positions in the overall rankings: Amazon.com (#10), Target (#14), Walgreens (#14), BJs Wholesale Club (#18), and Lowe’s (#18).

The retail industry received the third highest average customer experience rating, falling only behind grocery chains and fast food restaurants. Despite the strong performance of the industry, one retailer, RadioShack, earned a “poor” rating while seven other retailers at the bottom of the list received “okay” ratings: Office Depot, eBay, Barnes & Noble, Sears, Kmart, Best Buy, and Macy’s. The remaining retailers earned “good” ratings.

While most industries showed improvement between 2011 and 2012, retailers were one of four industries that registered a slight decline. Sam’s Club and Toys “R” Us are the only two retailers with more than a five-point increase in their ratings between 2011 and 2012. Kohl’s and Costco are the only two retailers with more than a five-point decrease in their ratings between 2011 and 2012.

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: There’s a wide gap between good and bad in retail CX

Will Retailers Deliver Holiday CX Cheer?

Earlier this year, we published the 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings (TER) that evaluates the customer experience (CX) of 143 large US organizations based on consumer ratings across three elements of experience: functional, accessible, and emotional.

Since many consumers are flocking to retailers at this time of year, I decided to share some details of the 27 retailers in the 2011 TER. The chart below shows the overall TER (across all 143 companies) as well as where the retailers rank compared to each other in the functional, accessible, and emotional elements of experience.

As you can see, Amazon.comKohl’s and Costco are on top while RadioShackGap, and Toys ‘R’ Us are at the bottom of the overall TER. It’s also interesting to look at the difference across components of the TER. Here are the retailers with the largest inconsistency across their rankings:

  • OfficeMax: functional (#15) and emotional (#24)
  • eBay: functional (#17) and accessible (#24)
  • Best Buy: accessible (#18) and functional (#25)
  • BJs Wholesale: emotional (#3) and accessible (#9)
  • WalMartfunctional (#8) and accessible, emotional (#14)
  • Macy’saccessible (#9) and emotional (#15)

The bottom line: Hopefully, ’tis the season to be CX jolly!

Report: 2011 Temkin Trust Ratings

We just published a new Temkin Group report, 2011 Temkin Trust Ratings. Here’s the executive summary:

We asked 6,000 U.S. consumers how much they trust different companies. The data allowed us to rate 143 companies across 12 industries. USAA and Amazon.com earned the top spots in the 2011 Temkin Trust Ratings while Comcast and Charter Communications dominate the bottom of the list. Only eight companies earned a “very strong” rating. Retailers, investment firms, and hotel chains have the highest average rating, while Internet service provider and TV service providers have the lowest.

Download report and dataset for $295

First of all, kudos to the top 10 firms in the ratings:

(1) USAA (insurance)
(2) Amazon.com (retail)
(3) Costco (retail)
(4) Edward Jones (investment firm)
(4) Hyatt (hotel chain)
(4) Sam’s Club (retail)
(4) TriCare (health plan)
(8) Kohl’s (retail)
(9) Walgreens (retail)
(10) Vanguard (investments)

Here are the results across industries:

Download report and dataset for $295

If you want to get access to all of the data in this ratings, check out the Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: It’s time for more companies to earn their customers’ trust

Kudos To Customer Service Leaders

The annual Customer Service Week starts today and goes through Friday (10/7). Given the occasion, it seems like a good opportunity to acknowledge some of the better performers in our 2011 Temkin Customer Service Ratings, which ranks 129 large companies across 12 industries.

First of all, kudos to the top 25 companies in the ratings. led by USAA, Edward Jones, Courtyard by Marriott, and Sam’s Club:

But, overall, companies aren’t very good at customer service and there is a wide difference across industries…

…so I want to give a shout out to companies that most outperformed their industry averages. Led by USAA, Southwest Airlines, Discover, American Express, and Edward Jones here are the top 25:

The bottom line: Happy customer service week!

Report: 2011 Temkin Customer Service Ratings

We just published a new Temkin Group report, 2011 Temkin Customer Service Ratings.

Companies are recognizing that customer service is more than a cost-center; it’s often a critical moment of truth that drives customer loyalty. But how effective are companies at delivering good customer service experiences?

Here’s the executive summary:

USAA and Edward Jones took the top spots in the 2011 Temkin Customer Service Ratings. We asked 6,000 US consumers to rate their recent customer service experience. This data allowed us to rate 129 companies across 12 industries. Only 12 of those companies received a “strong” customer service rating. Retailers, hotel chains, and investment firms have the highest average rating, while Internet and TV Service Providers are squarely at the bottom of the ratings. To improve customer service, companies should look at the experience holistically, using Temkin Group’s SLICE-B methodology.

Download report for $195

First of all, kudos to the top 10 firms in the ratings:

1. USAA (insurance)
2. Edward Jones (investments)
3. Courtyard By Marriott (hotels)
3. Sam’s Club (retail)
5. Kohl’s (retail)
5. Lowe’s (retail)
5. Marriott (hotels)
8. BJ’s Wholesale Club (retail)
8. Costco (retail)
8. Hyatt (hotels)

Here are the results across industries:

The report also looks at how companies perform relative to these industry averages. In that analysis, we find that USAA and Southwest Airlines are the most ahead of their industries while RadioShack and HSBC are the farthest behind.

Download report for $195

If you want to get access to all of the data in this ratings, check out the Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: Customer service needs an experience makeover

Amazon.com Leads, RadioShack Lags Retail Customer Experience

In the 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings, we examined the customer experience across 12 industries. Retail is the highest rated industry with an average rating of “good.” Here are the results for all 27 retailers that we rated…

As you can see, Amazon.com and Kohl’s are the only retailers with “excellent” ratings. At the other end of the spectrum, RadioShack is the only retailer with a “poor” rating. There are some interesting differences on the list:

  • Gap can learn from its much higher scoring “sister brand” Old Navy
  • Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJs Wholesale all score highly
  • Walgreens outpaces Rite Aid and CVS
  • Kohl’s has a five point gap over Target
  • Lowe’s has a six point gap over Home Depot 
  • Wal-Mart has a six point gap over Kmart

Let’s take a look at the three components of the Temkin Experience Ratings…

Costco and Amazon.com are the top retailers when it comes to the functional element of experience while Kohl’s  is the top-performing retailer when it comes to accessible experience. Best Buy falls below the good line for “functional” experience while Gap and Radio Shack fall below the good line for “functional” and “accessible” experience. All three of those laggards also score poorly when it comes to “emotional” experience.

The bottom line: Not all retailers are created equal

Amazon.com, Costco, and USAA Are The Most Recommended Companies

In the 2011 Temkin Loyalty Ratings, we examined three elements of loyalty that includes the likelihood of consumers to recommend U.S. companies to their friends and relatives. I decided to take a closer look at the companies with the most, and the least, percentage of consumers that are likely to recommend them.

Here are some observations of the results across the 143 companies we examined:

  • Amazon.com, Costco, and USAA are on top. No surprise; these companies do well in just about every measure of loyalty.
  • Southwest Airlines and Vanguard stand out. Besides USAA, Southwest Airlines and Vanguard are the only companies that aren’t retailers or hotel chains on the top 20 list.
  • Anthem, Blue Shield Of CA, and Charter Communications are on the bottom. Led by Anthem, Blue Shield Of California, and Charter Communications, 15 companies had less than 50% of consumers willing to recommend them.

We also looked at the level of consumer recommendations compared with industry averages. This analysis showed that:

  • USAA and Regions outperform the most. Led by USAA (credit cards and insurers) and Regions (banks), seven firms have 10 percentage points more consumers willing to recommend them compared with their industry average. The others: Southwest (airlines), Amazon.com (retailers), TriCare (health plans), and USAA (banks).
  • Gap and Radio Shack underperform the most. Led by Gap (retail) and Radio Shack (retailers), five companies fall at least 10 percentage points their industry average level of recommendations. The others: US Airways (airlines), Super 8 (hotels), and Anthem (health plans).

The bottom line: Recommendations are an asset that companies must cultivate.

Report: 2011 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings

We just published a new Temkin Group report, 2011 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings.

All companies make mistakes, so they need customers to give them a second chance. But companies have built-up considerably different levels of goodwill. This research shows how willing consumers are to forgive 143 companies.

Here’s the executive summary:

USAA, Costco, and Amazon.com took the top spots in the 2011 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings. We asked 6,000 US consumers how likely they were to forgive companies if they made a mistake. This data allowed us to rate 143 companies across 12 industries. Only 18% of those companies received a “strong” or “very strong” forgiveness rating. The results show that retailers have the highest level of goodwill while credit card issuers and TV service providers have the lowest. While all companies make mistakes, customers are more willing to give Forgiveness Ratings leaders a second chance.

Download report for $195

Here are the top ranked companies in the 2011 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings:

Here are the industry results in the 2011 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings:

Here are some additional findings in this report which is loaded with data contained in 20 figures:

  • The top 25 companies include 15 retailers and five hotel chains and one of each of these types of firms: insurance carrier, health plan, bank, airline, and credit card issuer.
  • Retailers are the only industry with an average score of “strong.” TV service providers and credit card issuers, on the other hand, have average scores that are “very weak.”
  • Led by USAA and TriCare, 10 firms have Forgiveness Ratings that are 10 percentage points or more their industry averages.
  • Led by Radio Shack and Super 8, 15 firms have Forgiveness Ratings that are at least 10 points below their industry averages.

Download report for $195

To get access to the data, visit the Temkin Ratings website:

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


Report: 2011 Temkin Loyalty Ratings

We just published a new Temkin Group report, 2011 Temkin Loyalty Ratings.

The report identifies the level of loyalty that US consumers have for 143 organizations across 12 industries.

Here’s the executive summary:

Amazon.com, Kohl’s, and Costco took the top spots in the 2011 Temkin Loyalty Ratings. We asked 6,000 US consumers to rate their level of loyalty to companies across three components: purchasing additional products and services, reluctance to switch business away, and likelihood to recommend the company to friends and relatives. This data allowed us to rate 143 companies across 12 industries. Only 17% of those companies received a “strong” or “very strong” loyalty rating. The results show that retailers have the highest level of loyalty while TV service providers and health plans have the lowest.

Download report for $195

First of all, let me give a shoutout to the five companies with the highest ratings, indicating that they have the most loyal customers:

  • 1. Amazon.com
  • 2. Kohl’s
  • 3. Costco
  • 4. (tie) Lowe’s
  • 4. (tie) Sam’s Club

Here’s a list of the top 20 companies in the ratings. Click on the graphic below or click right here if you want to see the results for all 143 companies.

The Temkin Loyalty Ratings are calculated by examining three levels of loyalty that companies have earned from consumers: willingness to buy more products, reluctance to switch business away from, and likelihood to recommend those companies.

Overall, consumers don’t have a strong degree of loyalty across many industries. Retailers, by far, earn the highest levels of loyalty. TV Service providers and Internet Service providers, on the other hand, have earned woefully little loyalty with consumers.

Here are some of the other findings from the research:

  • Results versus industry averagesLed by USAA (insurance and credit cards), TriCare (health plans), credit unions (banks), and Southwest Airlines, 12 companies had double-digit advantages in loyalty over their industry. At the other end of the spectrum, Radio Shack (retailers), Super 8 (hotel chains), and Gap (retailers) led 18 companies with loyalty scores at least 10 points below their industry averages.
  • “Recommending” leaders and laggardsLed by Costco and Amazon.com, 36 companies have “very strong” ratings for consumers that are likely to recommend them to friends and colleagues. At the other end of the spectrum, Charter Communications, Anthem, and Comcast are the only firms with a “very weak” rating in this area.
  • “Switching” leaders and laggards. While no companies have very strong ratings for customers that are reluctant to switch, TriCare and USAA lead the five companies that have a “strong” rating in this area. Blue Shield Of California and Lenovo are at the low-end of the spectrum along with 12 other companies that have negative ratings in this area.
  • “Repurchasing” leaders and laggards. When it comes to having customers who are likely to purchase something else from them, Amazon.com and Old Navy lead 21 companies with “very strong” loyalty ratings in this area. HSBC and Charter Communications are two of the seven companies that didn’t even cross the 20% mark in this area.

Download report for $195

For access to more data, you can visit Temkin Ratings Website.

Now that we’ve published the Temkin Loyalty Ratings and the Temkin Experience Ratings, we’re analyzing the correlation between the two datasets. Look for out upcoming report: Customer Experience And Loyalty: Connecting The Dots

The bottom line: Loyalty is up for grabs!

The 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings

We just published a new Temkin Group report, 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings. Congratulations to the top five companies (out of 143 in the ratings):

1) Amazon.com
2) Kohl’s
3) Costco
4) Lowe’s
4) Sam’s Club

The ratings evaluate 143 large organizations across 12 industries based on feedback from 6,000 US consumers.

Download report for FREE

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

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

Here are the top 20 companies in the ratings:

Here are the results for the 12 industries:

Here are some interesting findings from the report:

  • 15 of the top 20 firms are retailers. The exceptions are three hotel chains (Marriot, Hyatt, and Courtyard By Marriott), one bank (Regions), and an insurance company (USAA).
  • Anthem is at the bottom of the list along with six other health plans that are in the bottom 13. Comcast and Charter Communications each show-up twice in the bottom six spots.
  • Only 24 companies ended up with “excellent” or “good” ratings.
  • When we compare company ratings with their industry averages, three companies outperformed their peers by at least 10 points: TriCare (health plan), USAA (insurance and credit cards), and Regions (bank).

Download report for FREE

Are you interested in getting a deeper look at the data? Or do you want to see the differences across age, ethnicity, education, and income segments? Then you should visit Temkin Ratings at www.temkinratings.com.

The bottom line: Customer experience excellence is in short supply.

Costco, Newark, and NC On Leadership

Before getting on my flight to Madrid, I picked up U.S. News & World Report. It’s not my typical in-flight reading, but the topic caught my attention: America’s Best Leaders 2009. Here were a few of the highlights from the issue:

  • Jim Sinegal, CEO of Costco, shared his view on employee engagement:
    • We try to give a message of quality in everything we do, and we think that that starts with the people. It doesn’t do much good to have a quality image, whether it’s with the facility or whether it’s with the merchandise, if you don’t have real quality people taking care of your customers.”
  • Corey Booker, Mayor of Newark, shared advice that he follows:
    • My mom used to say that who you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say.” Also look at a previous post with this quote from Booker: “Life is about focus. What you focus on, you become. If you focus on nothing, you become nothing.
  • Roy Williams, head coach of North Carolina, listed his three guiding leadership principles:
    • “(1) Everyone on the team must focus on the same goal. It’s my job to effectively communicate those goals to the team; (2) Emphasize those goals every day; and (3) Understand that although everyone has a common goal, individuals also have goals, needs, and dreams that must be cared for.”

The bottom line: These are great leadership lessons to follow.

World Usability Day Shoutout To 25 Firms

In honor of World Usability Day (WUD) 2009, I’m publishing a second post today. As part of our annual Customer Experience Rankings, we get consumers to answer several questions about their experiences with companies. One of those questions is “How easy is it to work with this firm?

For our analysis, we take the percentage of consumers that say the company was easy to work with and subtract the percentage that say the company was difficult to work with. Using this net score, we ranked 113 companies. Here are the top 25 firms from last year’s rankings:

(Forrester) Top 25 Firms In Ease Of Use from 2008 CxPi

We just got the data back from our 2009 survey, so I am about to start the analysis for this year’s Customer Experience Index rankings. Look for the results in early December.

The bottom line: Every company should strive to be easier to work with.

Use Storytelling To Define Your Culture

Stories are a critical component of corporate culture. That’s why one of my 6 Cs of customer-centric DNA is “Compelling Stories.” Author Philip Pullman once said: 

‘Thou shalt not’ is soon forgotten, but ‘Once upon a time’ lasts forever.

So I was intrigued when I found a story called “Telling Tales: The art of corporate storytelling” in a 2007 edition of a magazine for Costco’s members.

The article offers-up advice for developing your corporate stories, which I’ve refined into these five items:

  • Identify what stories you want; select key elements of your culture.
  • Craft powerful stories; look for good stories and then write them down and perfect them.
  • Use an employee’s name; specificity is good and it helps boost morale.
  • Keep it short; if it’s too long, it’s hard to remember and repeat.
  • Use and re-use the story; don’t be shy in retelling the story.

One word of caution: Make sure you’re being honest. The stories will only work if they reinforce actual pieces of your culture. So you need top be clear about how your company operates. As Jack Welch is known for saying: Deal with the world as it is, not how you’d like it to be

The bottom line: Tell stories with a purpose

In-Person Satisfaction Snapshot- Costco, Barnes & Noble, and Marriott Top The List

We asked more than 4,500 US consumers about their satisfaction with experiences across 12 different industries: airlines, banks, cell phone service providers, credit card providers, hotels, insurance firms, Internet service providers, investment firms, medical insurance companies, PC manufacturers, retailers, and TV service providers. Our analysis looked at phone, store/branch, and Web interactions.

Satisfaction with Store Interactions

Here are some highlights of consumer feedback on in-person interactions. The analysis looked at satisfaction rates at an industry level and changes from last year’s results, examined satisfaction for individual companies, and compared responses across generations of consumers.

  • Highest industry satisfaction: Retailers (88%)
  • Lowest industry satisfaction: Heath plans (69%) and TV service providers (69%)
  • Most improved industry: Credit card providers (improved 6%)
  • Least improved industry: Internet service providers (declined 7%) and health plans (declined 7%)
  • Highest company satisfaction: Costco (94%), Barnes & Noble (94%), Marriott (94%), Old Navy (93%), credit unions (93%), and Sam’s Club (93%) 
  • Lowest company satisfaction: Time Warner Cable (61%), Road Runner (63%), Sprint (64%), and Comcast (66%)
  • Most satisfied generation: Seniors and Gen Y were most satisfied for four of the industries
  • Least satisfied generation: Gen Yers were least satisfied for six of the industries
  • Largest generation gap: Banks (Gen Y at 86% versus Younger Boomers at 68%)

The bottom line: What’s it like when customers come to see you?

Barnes & Noble Tops Retail Customer Experience List

As a part of my effort to examine the industry results from Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CxPi), I recently published a research report called Customer Experience Index 2008 Snapshot: Retail analyzing the 25 retailers in the rankings. Here are some of the findings:

  • Retailers did well. As a group, the retailers received a “good” rating of 81% and ended up taking 9 of the 10 top spots in the overall rankings. The industy had the second highest increase from last year’s rankings (behind only banks).
  • Books lead. Barnes & Noble replaced Costco at the top of the 2008 CxPi rankings, and the next two retailers near the top of the rankings were also booksellers: Borders and Amazon.com.
  • Electronics lag. The electronics retailers Best Buy, Circuit City, and Radio Shack ended up tied for next to last place in the retail list.
  • Depots disappoint. In many cases, retailers in the same sectors ended up with very similar CxPi scores. But there were a couple of notable exceptions: Staples ended up 9% higher than Office Depot, and Lowe’s ended up 5% higher than The Home Depot.
  • Barnes & Noble and Office Depot lead opposite trajectories. Comparing results from last year, Barnes & Noble showed the largest improvement while Office Depot had the largest decline.

The bottom line: Retailers are good, but could be much better.

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