According to the 2007 Retailer Customer Satisfaction Survey what customers look for in a retailer comes down to three things – value, service, and shopping experience. The study breaks these down into cost, employee helpfulness, quality of the merchandise sold, return policies, cleanliness and ease of finding merchandise (“the six qualities”).
The survey indicates that customers value the shopping experience (“employee helpfulness,” “store cleanliness” and “ease of finding merchandise”) above all else with a key contributor to that being “employee helpfulness.” The study also attempted to correlate ACSI satisfaction scores with Net Promoter scores (NPS). There has been a lot of discussion about the usefulness of these two measures. You can see an excellent post on this topic on Ron Shevlin’s blog.
I would expect a different and much higher level of “employee helpfulness” when I shop at Nordstrom when compared to Macy’s. Interestingly, they had the same ACSI score, but Nordstrom’s NPS was 81 while Macy’s was 18! A quick look at the data showed the greatest gap in the six qualities listed above for these two stores to be in “employee helpfulness.” This affirms two of my beliefs. First, that having a “satisfied” customer doesn’t mean that they will return or recommend you to others. Second, that no single measure really predicts the health of your customer relationships. It’s better to understand the drivers of customer satisfaction, and what will cause a customer to recommend you (and actually do it) than just a single question to measure either of these.