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L.L. Bean Number One in Customer Service, According to NRF Foundation/American Express Survey

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Kathy Grannis or Scott Krugman (202) 783-7971
grannisk@nrf.com or krugmans@nrf.com

 
L.L. Bean Number One in Customer Service,
According to NRF Foundation/American Express Surve


New York, January 15, 2008 – Satisfaction guaranteed is a mantra many companies live by, but customers say that none demonstrate that practice more than specialty retailer L.L. Bean. According to the third annual NRF Foundation/American Express Customer Service Survey, L.L. Bean delivers the best customer service in all retail formats. Results were unveiled moments earlier today at the Annual Retail Industry Luncheon during the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention & EXPO in New York City. L.L. Bean moved up from third place in 2006 to secure the number one spot this year. 

The survey of 8,800 consumers and conducted by BIGresearch, found internet-only retailers landing top spots on the list, with Zappos.com coming in second, Amazon.com third, Overstock.com fourth and Newegg.com tenth. Other retailers who excel in customer service have both websites and physical stores or catalogs, with multichannel retailers Blair (#5), Lands’ End (#6), Coldwater Creek (#7), Nordstrom (#8) and Lane Bryant (#9) rounding out the top 10.   

“Good customer service starts and ends with how the customer feels about their experience with a retailer,” said NRF Foundation Vice President Kathy Mance. “Retailers are especially challenged because of the multiple touch points that exist between the customer and their brand, but these companies have shown that great customer service does exist.”  

In terms of customer service, shoppers say they expect the most from restaurants and specialty stores – which both rated 4.4 out of 5.0. Customers also have high expectations of department stores (4.1), drug stores (4.0), grocery (3.9), internet retailers (3.8) and membership warehouse clubs (3.7).  Shoppers say they expect the least from discounters with a ranking of 3.4.

“Consumers who have a positive experience naturally spend more time and money in a store or shopping online,” said Glenda McNeal, senior vice-president, Retail and Emerging Industries, American Express Merchant Services. “Excellent service is of the greatest importance as retailers work to retain and build upon their customer base.”

About the Survey

The NRF Foundation/American Express 2007 Customer Service survey was designed to gauge consumer attitudes toward retailers’ customer service and to provide a listing of the top customer service retailers. The survey, which polled 8,877 consumers, was conducted by consumer marketing intelligence firm BIGresearch from September 4 - 11, 2007. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent. Consumers answered the open ended question, "Which retailer delivers the best customer service? "In order to develop a fair comparison, regardless of a retailer's size or geographic coverage, the consumer survey responses were compared to each retailer's 2006 revenues to develop the overall rankings. The survey data and the process for selecting the winners were reviewed by Professor Martin P. Block, Ph.D., of Northwestern University.


American Express is a leading global payments, network, travel and banking company founded in 1850. Merchant Services is the merchant network of American Express, which acquires and maintains relationships with millions of merchants around the globe, which welcome American Express-branded Cards.


BIGresearch is a consumer market intelligence firm that provides unique consumer insights that are gathered online utilizing very large sample sizes. BIGresearch’s syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey monitors the pulse of more than 7,000 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace.

The NRF Foundation is the research and education arm of the National Retail Federation. A non-profit foundation created in 1981, the Foundation conducts industry research, develops education and workforce development programs, professional certification programs and promotes retailing as a career destination. The NRF Foundation benefits retailers, their associates and business partners and allies, and consumers in many ways. Research provides the basis for education about the industry and its importance to the economy, and provides industry and government leaders with an analysis of public policy decisions on consumers, retailers, and the economy. The Foundation’s education and career development efforts, including NRF University wired, encourage professional development and excellence in performance of retailing for associates and executives at all levels. 

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