Friendly service drives customer satisfaction the most


What drives customers to select one retailer as their primary choice? According to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study, the single factor with the greatest influence on that retail experience beyond inventory, prices or location is friendly, knowledgeable service with a smile. "The one-on-one engagement a customer has with the retail staff continues to be the largest driver of overall customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers," said Christina Cooley, director of the @Home practice at J.D. Power. "Now, more than ever, customers are looking for the guidance they need-but they're also looking to get in and out of the store quickly. When customers receive speedy, knowledgeable and friendly service, they are more likely to return and recommend that retailer. However, if they must wait five minutes or more to receive help, satisfaction scores tumble." The following are some key findings of the 2020 study: Staff and service are a key differentiator: no single home improvement retailer outperforms the others across all measures of satisfaction, but those that are strongest in staff and service-the most heavily weighted driver of overall satisfaction-usually perform notably better in the study. Help in two minutes or less: customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers is highest when they receive help from staff within two minutes or less. Just one-fourth of customers received help within this threshold. Waiting more than five minutes for help decreases satisfaction with staff and service by more than 70 points (on a 1 000-point scale). Online shoppers visit more brick-and-mortar retailers and spend more: customers who shop and/or research online before making a purchase spend, on average, approximately USD 500 more per year on home improvement than those who do not research online. These shoppers are often more price-sensitive and are more likely to buy during a promotion or sale. In the new study provided by the market research company J. D. Power, Ace Hardware ranks highest in customer satisfaction among home improvement retailers for the 13th time in 14 years, with a score of 844. Menards (841) ranks second and Lowe's (838) ranks third, followed by True Value (832). US market leader Home Depot is in fifth position.