Ace tops retailer customer satisfaction survey

Ace Hardware ranked highest in customer satisfaction for the second consecutive year, according to results of the annual J.D. Power and Associates 2008 home improvement retail store study.

The study, in its second year, measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retail stores, based on performance in five factors: merchandise, price, sales staff, sales/promotions and store facility.

Ace Hardware received a score of 791 on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well in the sales staff and store facility factors, which are “the two most important factors driving overall customer satisfaction,” according to a statement from J.D. Power.

Lowe’s (784) and Menards (779) follow Ace Hardware in the rankings. Lowe’s performed particularly well in merchandise, while Menards did best in sales/promotions and price factors. True Value also performed above the industry average of 768 with a score of 774.

“Ace Hardware is particularly successful in pleasing customers with their knowledgeable and helpful sales staff,” said Dale Haines, senior director of the real estate and construction practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “While offering a wide selection of merchandise and low pricing are important, customers tell us that being able to get the assistance and advice they need to complete their projects correctly the first time [is important].”

Sears fell just under the industry average with a score of 767, while Home Depot fell into the last slot with a score of 753.

Sixty-one percent of customers say they asked for help from store employees on their last visit to their primary retailer. Customers who say they are highly satisfied with their primary retailer’s sales staff spend an additional 4 percent of their budget at that retailer.

“Not only does providing great customer service benefit retailers in terms of more satisfied, loyal customers, but it also results in increased sales,” Haines said.

The 2008 Home Improvement Retail Store Study is based on responses from 9,770 consumers who purchased a home improvement product or service within the previous 12 months from a store that sells home improvement products.