Updated January 04, 2011Each year the National Retail Federation (NRF) has published the "Customers' Choice" Survey, which ranks U.S. retailers according to their customer service, as judged by their customers.
The survey, administered by BIGresearch, asks thousands of U.S. consumers just one question - “Thinking of all the different retail formats (store, catalog, internet, or home shopping), which retailer delivers the best customer service?”
What's unique about this survey methodology is that it should identify the retailers who have done such a good job with customer service that their brand name has become synonymous with it. It would be interesting to also ask consumers which retail delivers the worst customer service, but with their absence from the list, those retailers identify themselves.
A comparison of the Customers' Choice Survey results from the past four years reveals one trend that makes a strong case for customer service. Five companies that fell off the Customers' Choice list subsequently found themselves on the Retail Chapter 11 list. Other companies such as Albertson's, Neiman Marcus, Barnes & Noble, and Office Depot did not have good enough customer service to make the NRF list, and have been struggling to survive in the recession. Only two retailers that have filed bankruptcy since 2008 were ever named by a large number of customers for having the exceptional customer service.
Of course, no aspect of retailing exists in isolation of other aspects. But certainly there is evidence in the NRF Customers' Choice Survey that having a reputation for excellent customer service - or not - is an important contributor to a company's health - or not.
Choose from these lists to view all of the U.S. retail companies that were included on the NRF Customers' Choice Survey from 2005 to 2010.