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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

Report: Locating A Store On The Phone Is Not Always Easy

We just published a new Temkin Group report, Locating A Store On The Phone Is Not Always Easy.

The report examines the experience of using phone self-service applications to find a nearby store or branch.

Here’s the executive summary:

When traveling in an unfamiliar area, calling a store’s toll-free number can be a convenient way to locate the closest branch or store location. How user-friendly are these phone-based store locators? We used Temkin Group’s SLICE-B methodology to evaluate the experiences at five large banks (Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, USBank, and Wells Fargo) and five large retailers (Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart). Target was the only store to receive an “Excellent” overall rating, with 23 out of a possible 24 points. Citibank and Walgreens, on the other hand, scored in the “Poor” range. Stores lost points for offering voice-activated search without touch-tone support and for accepting only one criteria to search by, usually a zip code.

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Here’s one of the figures that shows the overall results:

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The bottom line: What’s it like when your customers call you?

Even Walmart Needs To Reassert Its Brand

Walmart recently decided that it couldn’t allow dollar stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar to erode the giant retailer’s low-price positioning. While Walmart was focussing on competing with Target, these dollar stores were building up share with low income consumers. So Walmart is reasserting its “Everyday Low Price” mantra and pushing suppliers for even lower price points in every product category.

My take: This is a great example of “Compelling Brand Values” which is one of the four customer experience core competencies. As an introduction to this competency, I like to share this “edited” quote from Howard Shultz:

Great companies not only stand for something, but they operate in a manner in which their employees consistently deliver on their brand promises. At a high level, this requires three things:

  1. A clear definition of your brand and its promises
  2. A shared understanding of your brand across your employees
  3. An operating model that supports and reinforces the fulfilling of your brand promises

As this Walmart case demonstrates, it’s very easy to lose sight of your brand. While Walmart would never be mistaken as a high-priced retailer, its focus on competing with Target allowed it to stray away from its goal of being the low-price leader.

A small drift in your brand can cause myriads of inconsistent decisions within your company and create opportunities for competitors to takeover your previously controlled market position.

That’s why every company should reassess its brand every 18-24 months. This effort should assess the following questions:

  • What does the executive team think the brand currently stands for?
  • What does the executive team think the brand should stand for?
  • What do employees think the brand stands for?
  • To what degree have employees embraced the brand?
  • What do customers think the brand stands for?
  • To what degree does the brand resonate with customers?

The bottom line: Never take your brand for granted

Report: Evaluating Online Store Locators

We just published a new report, Online Store Locators Miss A Key Part Of The Experience.

The report evaluated the online experience of five large retailers (Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart) and five large banks (Bank of America, Citibank, Chase, US Bancorp, and Wells Fargo) using our SLICE-B experience review methodology. The report has 12 figures which provide details of the reviews and highlights several best practices that we found.

Here’s the executive summary:

Just about every bank and retailer provides a store or branch locator on its site. But how user-friendly are the experiences? Mostly mediocre. Temkin Group evaluated 10 large retailers and banks using its SLICE-B experience review methodology. Wells Fargo ended with the only “excellent” rating and Target was alone at the bottom with a “poor” rating. All of the sites struggle to support user’s goals after they find the nearby stores.

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Here are the overall results from the evaluations:

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The bottom line: Are you doing a good enough job helping people find your locations?

Barnes & Noble Leads Retailers In Customer Experience

My research plan for Forrester’s 2010 Customer Experience Index (CxPi) includes an analysis of all 14 industries in the rankings. I recently published the retail analysis which examines the 25 retailers (out of 133 total companies) in the CxPi. Here are the overall results: 

As a group, the retailers did quite well; grabbing 12 out of the top 20 spots in the rankings. Retailers also showed a modest improvement over the 2008 CxPi. Here are some insights from looking at the retail results:

  • The best retail customer experience. At the top of the list, 7 retailers ended up with “excellent” ratings: Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, BJs Wholesale Club, and Costco Wholesale.
  • The worst retail customer experience. At the bottom of the list, 2 retailers ended up with “okay” ratings: Office Depot and Marshalls.
  • Best Buy & Macy’s got better. When we compared the 2010 results with those of the 2008 CxPi, we found that nine retailers improved. Best Buy and Macy’s made the largest gains. Going in the other direction, Toys “R” Us, Old Navy, Borders, and Staples had the largest declines.
  • Wal-Mart and  Office Depot aren’t enjoyable. The CxPi contains three underlying components: 1) meeting needs, 2) being easy to work with, and 3) enjoyability. There were only 2 ratings that fell below “okay” in any of those three areas: Both Wal-Mart and Office Depot received “poor” ratings for “enjoyability.”
  • iTunes is most difficult to work with. 24 of the retailers received “good” or “excellent” ratings in the second area, being easy to work with. The lone exception: Apple iTunes received only an “okay” rating.

The bottom line: Retailers are good, but not great in customer experience

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.

Customer Experiences Need Work Across Channels

Earlier this year, we published a report called Best And Worst Of Cross-Channel Design, 2009 that examined results from our expert review of 16 companies across four industries: Online travel agencies, auto insurers, footwear manufacturers, and discount retailers. We examined scenarios that included interactions online, with call centers, via email, and through IVR systems. The evaluations also looked at transitions across channels.

Here are the overall results from that analysis.

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As you can see, none of the 16 firms ended up with a passing score. Here were the highest scoring firm in each area:

  • Web site: Expedia
  • IVR: Nike
  • Phone agents: Orbitz and priceline.com
  • Email: Nike
  • Channel transitions: Expedia, Geico, and New Balance 

The cross-channel reviews graded experience across 57 criteria. More than 12 of the 16 companies failed these nine criteria:

  • Is text legible? (Web Site)
  • Is the task flow efficient (Web Site)
  • Is essential content available where needed? (Web Site)
  • Can the user complete her goals in all required channels? (Channel Transitions)
  • Are keyword-based searches comprehensive and precise? (Web Site)
  • Does the system provide essential content? (IVR)
  • Does the site help users avoid and recover from errors? (Web Site)
  • Does the site present privacy and security policies in context? (Web Site)
  • Do menu categories immediately expose or describe their subcategories? (Web Site)

The bottom line: There’s a lot of room for improvement

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