No matter how good the quality of product or how affordable the price, customer service makes or breaks a consumer's decision to shop at a given store. I mean, are two-cent apples really worth it if the staff is rude? I don't think so.
While it is a defining success qualifier for many retailers, customer service is a difficult quality to empirically quantify. That's where the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) comes in. The ACSI rates retailers on a 100-point scale. A recent survey of 12,515 customers conducted at the end of 2016 revealed which stores fared the best.
Can you guess which grocery store had the best customer service for 2016?
Warehouse giant Costco scored an 83 out of a scale of 100. The ranking secured Costco a spot as the leading retailer in the specialty retail category. This will likely come as no surprise to Costco enthusiasts who love the bulk wholesale rates and generous food samples. Competitor Sam's Club came at a close second with a score of 81, and BJ's Wholesale Club earned a score of 76.
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"[Costco] has that model of: this is what we do, this is who we are, what we sell and we are going to do it really well," David VanAmburg, managing director at ACSI, told CNN Money. "They aren't the fanciest or flowery looking store, but they put that money into good prices and staffing."
In the supermarket category, Trader Joe's earned a score of 86. The grocery store chain was followed by Publix (84) and a three-way tie between Aldi, H-E-B, and Wegmans at 83. While Whole Foods earned a lower score of 81, this rank was 11 percent higher than previous years. Hy-Vee, Kroger, and ShopRite scored 79; Meijer and Target tied at 78; and Bi-Lo was up by 4 percent at 77.
With the rise of online shopping, customer service is increasingly important for brick-and-mortar stores. It's not a surprise that some of our favorite grocery stores — including Trader Joe's — are up at the top.
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Did your favorite grocery store make the list? Let us know in the comments.