Monday, March 3, 2008

Retail Customer Service All-Stars

BusinessWeek has published a list of the American firms with the best customer service, gathered by J.D. Power. A few retailers made the grade, including L.L. Bean, Land's End, Nordstrom, Amazon.com, and Neiman Marcus.

Some interesting tidbits in the survey:

Land's End doubled its presence in Sears stores in 2007 and added in-store monogramming. They let customers bring back merchandise that's 20 years old.

Amazon.com made shipping free for all orders above $25, which seemed like a dangerous margin-killing move, but ended up increasing sales by 42% and doubling profit in the 4th quarter of 2007.

At Neiman Marcus, new hires receive 160 hours of training so they know how to develop customer relationships and understand the designer goods the chain sells (retail success story Lululemon requires similarly-lengthy training). Also, Neiman has been recruiting at top universities to increase the caliber of its associates.

Another study
published in the Journal of Marketing shows that firms in the top quintile of customer service rank beat the return of the broader stock market in good times and bad. Indeed, there's something to be said for providing good customer service.

Businessweek - The Customer Service Elite
Consumerist - How To Beat The Stock Market: Buy Companies With High Customer Satisfaction Scores

2 comments:

Scott Finch said...

From the consumer perspective, I couldn't agree more that customer service makes or breaks the relationship between an entity in the retail apperal industry and their respective clientele. Though customer service (in the form of the customer/retail salesperson relationship) may play a large role in determining the rate at which a store or brand name experiences customer retention and thus less volatile revenue figures, the degree to which customers are satisfied with the end product ultimately determines the success of an outfitter's product line. I'm ga-ga for LULU - great product (very durable clothing from my perspective) and great customer service.

MR style said...

i couldnt agree more especially with amazon !! i always buy books with them and it's just a pleasure honestly