Sam’s Club, Amazon Take Top Spots for Customer Service Ratings

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/walmartcorporate/

Sam’s Club (NYSE:WMT) delivers the best customer experience among retailers, according to the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings released last week. Now in its fourth year, the annual ratings are based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers, and researchers use the responses gathered to produce a company’s Temkin Experience Rating.

Fierce Retail reports that the Temkin Group asks consumers to evaluate their experiences with a company across three dimensions: functional, accessible, and emotional; researchers then average those scores to produce a Temkin Experience rating. Sam’s Club came in first this year, enjoying the highest degree of customer satisfaction success. The wholesale retailer, owned by Wal-Mart Stores, narrowly beat out Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) for the top spot. Per Fierce Retail, this was the third consecutive year that Sam’s Club and Amazon topped the list.

According to information obtained via PR Newswire, Sam’s Club and Amazon.com both earned an “excellent” rating on the Temkin Experience scale, but Sam’s Club broke away from the pack by receiving an 81 percent rating and an overall rank of eighth out of 268 companies across 19 industries. The 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings examines the quality of customer experience, and in these ratings, a score of 70 percent or above is considered “good,” while a score of 80 percent or above is considered “excellent.”

Though a handful of retailers — including Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Petsmart (NASDAQ:PETM), Ace Hardware, and BJ’s Wholesale Club – scored a customer satisfaction rating just below the “excellent” distinction, they still enjoyed ratings of 79 percent each, setting them apart from many of their competitors. PR Newswire said that RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) and Foot Locker (NYSE:FL) didn’t fare as well. They tied for last place among 45 retailers, making it the fourth year that that RadioShack has been at the bottom of the industry.

It’s worth noting that Sam’s Club such high points with consumers in the 2014 Temkin Experience ratings because its older brother, Wal-Mart, actually performed very poorly. PR Newswire reports that Wal-Mart ranked in the bottom 10 division of retailers based on its scores — it shared the distinction with Macy’s (NYSE:M), Toys ‘R’ Us (NYSE:XKE), Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD), Kmart, the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Store, GameStop (NYSE:GME), Gap (NYSE:GPS), Foot Locker, and Radio Shack with its 69 percent score. One of Wal-Mart’s biggest rivals is Amazon, so although it enjoyed a victory with its wholesale division (Sam’s Club) outscoring the e-commerce giant, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer still had disappointing scores of its own.

It’s also important to pull back and examine the retail industry as a whole, because one of the advantages of the Temkin Experience Ratings is that it points a spotlight on a number of industries, making it easier to evaluate how every industry is doing as a whole, respectively. According to PR Newswire, the retail industry averaged a 73 percent rating in the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings and tied for third place out of 19 industries. Retail was one of only four industries to decline in the ratings since last year, decreasing its average by 1 percentage point.

Sam’s Club and Amazon.com are currently delivering the best customer service in the industry, but it is concerning that the ratings for the retail sector have suffered dramatically and could continue dropping as more companies focus on their online efforts and less on their brick-and-mortar capabilities.

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