WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 7 June 2016 — Ace Hardware ranks highest in customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers for a 10th consecutive year, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study,SM released today.
According to the Home Improvement Research Institute, home improvement consumer spend is on the rise, with an expected increase of 4% in 2016 to about $332 billion.
The study measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers by examining five factors (in alphabetical order): merchandise; price; sales and promotions; staff and service; and store facility. Satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale.
From the initial in-store greeting to receiving assistance from a store employee, timeliness is the key to customer satisfaction, as the expectation for these interactions to occur is within two minutes or less. Customer satisfaction drops significantly from 850 to 782 when the initial greeting takes more than two minutes. It is also critical for store employees to respond in a timely manner when a customer asks a question. Similarly, overall satisfaction declines significantly when a customer waits more than two minutes to have their question answered, compared with waiting less than two minutes (763 vs. 845, respectively).
Satisfaction among the 46% of customers who ask for help from a store employee is 14 index points higher than among those who do not ask for help (805 vs. 791, respectively). The majority (74%) of customers indicate that the staff understood the questions being asked, which is critical as satisfaction falls 97 points from 811 to 714 when a store employee isn’t able to respond. Customers also want the retailer to provide advice, which is where retailers as a whole fall short. Only 42% of customers indicate that the staff provided advice; however, among those customers, satisfaction is 830, compared with a much lower score of 765 when no advice was provided.
“The retailer’s staff is most critical to differentiating the experience provided to customers, especially when it comes to the timeliness of greeting customers, answering their questions or providing advice,” said Greg Truex, senior director of the at-home practice at J.D. Power.“Most often customers initially need help locating a product or have a question about the product. Retailers that train their employees to engage with customers proactively and assist them are more likely to provide them with a satisfying experience during these moments of truth. It is also important to have the store staffed appropriately during weekends when traffic is highest. Doing so may help build a delighted and loyal customer base, as we see across the many home improvement segments J.D. Power measures.”
Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Rankings
- Ace Hardware (810) ranks highest in customer satisfaction among home improvement retailers for a 10th consecutive year and performs particularly well in staff and service and store facility.
- Ace Hardware scores significantly higher than the study average in the staff and service factor (855 vs. 811, respectively), driven by strong attribute ratings for availability of sales staff and knowledge of sales staff.
- Menards (803) ranks second and Lowe’s (799) ranks third.
- Overall customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers is 795, up from 788 in 2015.
Following are some of the loyalty findings of the 2016 study.
- Satisfaction Drives Loyalty: Among delighted customers (overall satisfaction scores of 901 and above), 76% say they “definitely will” repurchase from the retailer, compared with the study average of 39%. Additionally, 77% of delighted home improvement retailer customers say they “definitely will” recommend the retailer to others, compared with the study average of 40%.
- Delightful Experience Influences Recommendations: Among delighted customers, the average number of positive recommendations is 4.7, compared with the study average of 2.8.
The 2016 Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 2,995 customers who purchased home improvement-related products from a home improvement retailer within the previous 12 months. The study was fielded in January and February 2016.
For more information about J.D. Power solutions for the home improvement industry, visit http://www.jdpower.com/industry/home-improvement
See the online press release at http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2016-home-improvement-retailer-satisfaction-study
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 Source: Home Improvement Research Institute http://www.hiri.org/news/252765/HIRIIHS-Economics-up-4.4-in-2015-Expecting-4.4-sales-growth-in-2016-and-beyond.htm