Ace Hardware, BJ's Wholesale Club and QVC deliver the retail industry's best overall customer experience, according to rankings assembled by research firm Temkin Group.
Ace, BJ's, and QVC tied for the top spot out of the 48 retailers in this year's report, each earning a score of 81% and coming in 8th place overall out of 331 companies across 20 industries. Five other retailers — Sam's Club, O'Reilly Auto Parts, True Value, Amazon and Dollar Tree —placed in the top 10% of companies, Temkin Group said.
Overall, Temkin Group awarded the retail industry an average rating of 74%, up five percentage points from 2016 and coming in third place out of 20 verticals surveyed. Temkin considers a score of 80% or above to be "excellent," a score of 70% or above to be "good" and a score below 60% to be “poor."
In an age when consumers seem to be putting much of their emphasis on price, the retail industry is doing well when it comes to customer experience, at least according to the Temkin Group report. Most retailers moved the needle in this measure, except for J.C. Penney, whose score decreased by one point, and Dollar General, whose score stayed the same. Macy's and Old Navy improved the most, each gaining 12 points, Temkin added.
But the designations don’t seem to be helping retailers much. RadioShack, which has failed to resonate with shoppers and is reportedly preparing for a second bankruptcy in two years, nevertheless eked out a better-than-poor rating of 64% (tied with Foot Locker for the lowest retailer ranking). Office Depot, Office Max, Sears, Gap and Kmart all failed to crack the 70% threshold as well.
Other ratings fly in the face of conventional wisdom: Apple, widely considered to be a prime example of stellar physical retail, managed just a “good” score of 73%, the same score awarded to Nordstrom, a brand widely synonymous with superior customer experiences thanks its part to its famously liberal merchandise returns policy. (Nordstrom last week eliminated 106 customer care jobs, citing a reduction in the number of customers who reach out for support.)
For the study, Temkin Group asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to evaluate their recent brand experiences across three areas: success (“Can you do what you want to do?”), effort (“How easy is it to work with the company?”), and emotion (“How do you feel about the interactions?”). Temkin then averaged these three scores to produce each experience rating.