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

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For Immediate Release
Kathy Grannis (212)624-8431 or grannisk@nrf.com
www.nrf.com/annual09         

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

New York, January 13, 2009 – When it comes to providing great customer service, L.L.Bean has once again been hailed as the cream of the crop. According to the fourth annual NRF Foundation/American Express Customers’ Choice survey, conducted by BIGresearch, shoppers revealed that L.L.Bean delivers the best customer service in all retail formats. Results were announced today during the Annual Retail Industry Luncheon during the National Retail Federation’s 98th Annual Convention and EXPO in New York City. The top 10 winners of the survey were honored at the luncheon. 

In the four-year history of the survey, shoppers have increasingly identified internet-only retailers among those who offered the best customer service. This year was no different with Overstock.com (#2), Zappos.com (#3) and Amazon.com (#4) filling out the top positions. Jumping five spots this year, JC Penney secured the number seven spot. Other multichannel and specialty retailers in the top 10 include Lands’ End (#5), Newegg (#6), QVC (#8), Coldwater Creek (#9) and Nordstrom (#10).   

“Retailers this past year had the extra challenge of offering their customers great service amidst turbulent economic conditions,” said NRF Foundation Vice President Kathy Mance. “Any company who secured a spot on the list this year should be commended for stellar customer service and continued level of excellence.”

“Exceeding the expectations of customers through excellent service is incredibly important,” said Glenda McNeal, senior vice-president, Retail and Emerging Industries, American Express Merchant Services. “Particularly in a challenging economic environment, retailers who distinguish themselves through service are rewarded with increased customer loyalty and spending.”

About the Survey

The NRF Foundation/American Express 2008 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 8,167 consumers, was conducted by consumer marketing intelligence firm BIGresearch from September 2-9, 2008. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent. Consumers answered the open ended question, “Thinking of all the different retail formats (store, catalog, internet, or home shopping), 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 2007 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.

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 8,000 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace.

American Express is a leading global payments, network, and travel 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.

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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