The study, now in its eighth year, measures customer satisfaction with appliance retailers by examining seven factors (in order of importance): sales staff and service; store facility; price; delivery service; sales and promotions (new to the study); merchandise; and installation service. Satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale.
The study finds that sales staff and service has the greatest impact on customer satisfaction. When key services are provided by the sales staff, satisfaction is substantially higher than when they are not. The most impactful aspects of service include the availability of the sales staff to provide assistance (833 vs. 708, respectively) and their ability to greet customers promptly (847 vs. 714); listening carefully to customer questions or concerns (837 vs. 673); and thanking customers for their purchase (836 vs. 634).
More than one-fourth (28%) of customers cite price as their main reason for selecting the retailer from which they purchased their appliances. Furthermore, 64 percent of those customers indicate their decision was based on a sales price compared with the original price (17%), package price (13%) or rebate/financing/other (6%). This finding is critical in understanding customer traffic as the study shows that 40 percent of customers shop only one retailer and don't consider others.
Although sales and promotions may drive sales, it does not guarantee customer loyalty. In fact, only 38 percent of customers say they "definitely will" make their next appliance purchase at the same retailer and 42 percent say they "definitely will" recommend that retailer.
"Price and promotions drive the sale but it's the sales staff and the service they provide that make a satisfied customer," said Christina Cooley, director of home improvement industries at J.D. Power. "Appliance retailers need to differentiate themselves beyond price. To satisfy customers, retailers must focus on delighting customers throughout the shopping, purchase, delivery and installation processes. Retailers that focus on attracting customers through pricing but further satisfying them in areas beyond price are better able to drive sales and win repeat business."
Lowe's achieves high satisfaction across the customer experience. On average, Lowe's customers who purchased an appliance on sale actually saved less than customers of other retailers; yet, Lowe's scores highest in the sales staff and service factor and has substantially higher loyalty rates than competitors. Nearly one-half (46%) of customers who purchased one or more appliances from Lowe's say they "definitely will" purchase their next appliance from the retailer, compared with the study average of 38 percent.
Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Rankings
Lowe's (830) regains the highest ranking in customer satisfaction among appliance retailers and performs particularly well in all seven factors. The retailer ranked second in the 2014 study after previously ranking highest for four consecutive years.
The Home Depot (817) ranks second, followed by Sears (816).
Overall satisfaction with appliance retailers is 816.
The 2015 Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 2,963 customers who purchased major home appliances from a multi-regional appliance retailer within the previous 12 months. The study was fielded in January and February 2015. For more information about J.D. Power solutions for the home improvement industry, visit http://www.jdpower.com/industry/home-improvement