SOURCE: BIGresearch

February 08, 2007 14:45 ET

BIGresearch Survey: Customers Say Good Service Is More Than a Smile

Total Store Experience Contributes to Good Customer Service

COLUMBUS, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 8, 2007 -- Good customer service is what most loyal consumers expect, all successful retailers strive for and every struggling retailer hopes for. However, in today's consumer-centric market, good service is more than friendly employees, who are just the beginning, according to an analysis of over 7,000 verbatim responses to a recent BIGresearch survey.

The survey asked consumers to write in the name of the store that they believe provided the best overall service. A follow-up question was asked to let consumers explain why they believed this store provided the best and some of the reasons are quite enlightening.

Analysis of the consumer input was performed using a proprietary methodology for the analysis of open-ended textual comments that combines natural language processing with advanced statistical modeling. This technology was developed by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), the third largest company in the information technology service industry as rated by FORTUNE 500®.

"Of course helpful, available staff topped the list, but policies and store practices are also perceived as important elements by customers when it comes to evaluating customer service. It's apparent that consumers use much broader measures for customer service when analyzing customer service and that includes the entire store experience. The old standbys of smiling, friendly clerks are not enough for today's shopper," said Joe Pilotta, VP, Research of BIGresearch.

Top Ten Elements for Best Customer Service

1. Always Helpful        (35%)          6. Good Prices      (9%)
2. Available Staff       (18%)          7. Great Store      (4%)
3. Fair Return Policy    (14%)          8. Fast Service     (4%)
4. Good Communication    (12%)          9. Selection        (3%)
5. Friendly Staff        (12%)          10.Quality Products (2%)
Below are 3 random examples of the thousands of consumer comments in the survey:

"I can shop at my leisure, put items on the counter and look for more purchases. I always get lowest prices and I know I will have a no hassle refund if sizes or colors are incorrect."

"There are a lot of clerks and they are always checking on the customers and asking, 'Have you found everything you are looking for?' If not, they are willing to help you even if it is not their department."

"The employees of Nordstrom Corporation are always willing to extend extra effort. They are willing to find whatever the customer needs, walking all over the floor to find the desired item in a timely manner, trying to meet the customer's wants."

For a more in-depth list of responses for the ten customer service leaders (stores or online), and other BIGresearch samples, go to: and click on Complimentary Top Line Findings.

About BIGresearch

BIGresearch is a market intelligence firm providing analysis of consumer behavior in areas of retail, financial services, automotive, and media. The syndicated Simultaneous Media Usage Study (SIMM) monitors more than 15,000 consumers twice each year to identify opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace including the media. They also conduct the Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (CIA) which monitors the pulse of more than 7,000 consumers each month.

BIGresearch's methodology provides the most accurate consumer information in the industry with a margin of error of +/- 1 percent.

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