Home improvement retailer Lowe’s ranks highest in customer satisfaction with appliance retailers for a second consecutive year, achieving a score of 807 on a 1,000-point scale., compared to an industry average of 790, according to data released in August 2011 by J.D. Power and Associates. Lowe’s performs particularly well in four of the six factors analyzed by J.D. Power: store facility; price; delivery service; and installation service.
Following Lowe’s in the ranking are hhgregg (799) and Sears (793). Hhgregg performs particularly well in the sales staff and service and merchandise factors. The study, now in its fourth year, measures customer satisfaction with the largest appliance retailers based on performance in six factors: sales staff and service; store facility; merchandise (i.e., variety of brands/models offered and availability of merchandise and product information); price, delivery service; and installation service.
Top Appliance Retailers Strong in Key Metrics
The highest-ranking appliance retailer brands demonstrate particular strength in certain key operational metrics, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Appliance Mystery Shopping Report:
- Sales staff at hhgregg, Lowe’s and Sears each perform better than average in quickly providing assistance to mystery shoppers.
- On the telephone, staff at Lowe’s and Sears perform well in assessing customer needs, and are more likely than staff at other retailers to ask about the customer’s budget and appliance use habits.
- Staff at Lowe’s are more likely than staff at other retailers to mention their brand’s store advantages to telephone mystery shoppers.
- Retailers hhgregg and Sears have the highest ratings for salesperson personality (ratings of excellent/truly exceptional).
Courtesy is King
Combined, the importance weights of the sales staff and service; delivery service; and installation service factors slightly exceed the combined importance of the store facility, merchandise and price factors (51% vs. 49%, respectively). Courtesy of the sales staff is the most important aspect within the sales staff and service factor, while courtesy of delivery personnel is the most important element of delivery service.
Appliances Drive Weak Consumer Behavior
Consumer retail behavior was generally weak during June 2011, driven by the appliance sector, according to Consumer Reports. The Consumer Reports Past 30-Day Retail Index, reflecting June activity, is 10.2, down from 12 the prior month. The Consumer Reports Next 30-Day Retail Index, reflecting planned purchasing in July, is also down, coming in at 7.7 compared to 9 the prior month.
Looking in detail at the categories comprising the Consumer Reports Past 30-Day Retail Index, the month’s softness was the result of declines in major and small appliances, down 2% from 9.4% to 7.7%, and down 25% from 21.1% to 15.9%, respectively.
About the Data: The 2011 Appliance Retailer Study is based on responses from more than 4,400 customers who purchased a laundry or kitchen appliance within the previous 24 months from a major appliance retailer. The study, published by J.D. Power and Associates, was fielded between March and April 2011 and is the source of the enclosed chart.
The 2011 Appliance Mystery Shopping Report compiles the findings of 600 trained mystery shoppers who performed either on-site or telephone evaluations of a major U.S. appliance retailer. The report is released quarterly; Q2 2011 results are based on evaluations collected between April and June 2011. Major appliance retailers included in the report are Best Buy, hhgregg, The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sears.