L.L. Bean received high praise for its customer service once again this year, grabbing the top spot in Prosper Insights & Analytics’ annual review of service excellence among retailers, a survey of more than 6,500 U.S. adults in September, according to Prosper’s report.
Amazon snagged number two, followed by Lands’ End, Fingerhut and Kohl’s, which filled in the ranks of the top five "Champions."
Different generations considered different aspects of a retailer’s customer service in their write-in votes: millennials and Gen Xers both noted helpfulness in their responses and millennials also noted quick delivery, while Baby Boomers preferred returns, according to the report.
Prosper’s analysis of more than 3,000 responses received for the top 25 retailers revealed 10 keywords shoppers used to describe the elements of customer service most valued by shoppers (in rank order): helpful, returns, easy, quick, problems, shipping, friendly, price, knowledgeable and selection.
Other retailers placing in the top 25 include department stores (J.C. Penney, Nordstrom), big box specialists (Best Buy, Lowe’s), grocers (Publix, Wegmans), discounters (Target, Walmart), and a warehouse club (Costco).
Comments from survey respondents show that they appreciate L.L.Bean for its long-lasting products and helpful, knowledgeable and accessible associates. Despite its struggles and declining sales, Lands’ End also enjoys a loyal following that appreciates the high quality merchandise and satisfaction-focused return policy.
Amazon meanwhile, is hardly shirking customer service. Shoppers there noted its free shipping, low prices and massive assortment, with Prime membership benefits "adding the cherry to the top of a great experience," according to Prosper report author Pam Goodfellow.
Fingherhut (which made the list for the first time, placing in the top five at number four) and discount department store Kohl’s (whose loyalty program includes the much-loved "Kohl’s Cash" benefit) won over consumers with tight budgets. "Shoppers feel that Fingerhut understands tough financial situations by offering credit and payment installment plans for items that would otherwise be out of their reach," Goodfellow wrote. "As the highest-ranking department store in our 2016 Champions list, Kohl’s managed to delight its customers in a way that competitors were unable to match this year. Here’s the secret: Kohl’s shoppers love a great deal.”