Where the Customer Is Always RightEvery year, just in time for Black Friday, the National Retail Federation a preliminary list of the top 10 retailers for customer service. This year’s list, which precedes an official ranking released every January, is based on responses from 9,374 consumers. Participants were asked in early September which retailers they felt delivered outstanding customer service each and every day. The question was open-ended, so respondents could name any retailer that came to mind.
While we won’t know how the retailers specifically ranked until 2012, we do know that the list of finalists is identical to the 2010 top performers, which either indicates how awesome the 10 featured retailers truly are or that customer service hasn’t changed all that much from 2010 to 2011.
Read on to find out which retailers (listed in alphabetical order) are still the best in the business when it comes to customer service before hitting up the Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales!
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Amazon.comLast year’s rank: 2
The online giant actually topped the NRF’s list in 2006, the first year it made it into the top 10. Last year, it was lauded for its wide variety of products and easy-to-navigate website.
Photo Credit: Amazon.com
JCPenneyLast year’s rank: 6
Another retailer lauded for its extensive floor selection and wide array online offerings, JCPenney has ping-ponged in and out of the top 10 since the list’s inception in 2005.
Photo Credit: JCPenney.com
Kohl’s Department StoresLast year’s rank: 7
The department store chain has been a finalist since 2009, thanks to in part to its frequent power-shop discounts, but it also helps that the company introduced in-store kiosks in 2010 that allow consumers to buy items currently unavailable in stores and have them shipped to their homes for free.
Photo Credit: Kohls.com
Land’s EndLast year’s rank: 5
Land’s End first cracked the top 10 in 2006 – the list’s second year published – and has managed to stay there without getting complacent. In 2010, the apparel retailer added an online chat tool on its website that lets consumers video-chat with a personal shopper while perusing the online catalog. It also has a no-strings-attached return policy.
Photo Credit: LandsEnd.com
L.L.BeanLast year’s rank: 3
Another perennial top-customer-service list mainstay – and a three-time number one – the outerwear retailer is known known for its no-strings-attached return/exchange policy as well as its frequent gift card giveaways. The store is actually running a promotion right now where customers can get a $10 gift card back on purchases of $50 or more. But they also offer free shipping year-round on purchases, without a minimum amount required.
Photo Credit: llbean.com
NeweggLast year’s rank: 10
A new addition on last year’s list, popular online personal technology retailer Newegg was cited for both its user-friendly website that includes, among other things, a constantly updated list of rebates customers can apply to current and previous purchases, and its Iron Egg Guarantee, which entitles shoppers to free shipping, low price guarantees and an unlimited 60-day return policy.
Photo Credit: Newegg.com
NordstromLast year’s rank: 9
The NRF cites Nordstrom’s (Stock Quote: JWN) growing multi-channel presence and great personal service as reasons why it has been a top 10 mainstay since the list’s inception in 2005. It also doesn’t hurt that the department store chain has a great return policy, which places no time limit on returns and lets consumers bring back items even if they don’t have a receipt. (You can either print one out in the store if you ordered online or just provide the credit card that you used at the time of the purchase.)
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Overstock.comLast year’s rank: 4
When online retailer Overstock.com made the list in 2010, the NRF cited an ample array of products, deals and a website with a friendly atmosphere. The company even listened to customers when it encountered a backlash over a short-lived name change.
Photo Credit: Overstock.com
QVCLast year’s rank: 8
QVC has managed to stay in the NRF’s top 10 since it first broke into the list in 2008, thanks, in part, to its generous 30-day return and an easy-to-use website. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s terribly convenient to shop while watching television.
Photo Credit: QVC.com
ZapposLast year’s rank: 1
The popular online shoe retailer managed to unseat L.L. Bean in 2010 (who had taken the top spot three years in row) largely due to its free-shipping policies. Customers can get the items sent to them and returned for free. It also doesn’t hurt that the company lets customers return items within 365 days for a full refund.
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