Sam's Club, Starbucks top experience charts

15 February 2012

NEW YORK: Sam's Club, Starbucks and Subway are among the companies perceived as offering the best experience to US shoppers, a new study has found.

The Temkin Group, the consultancy firm, asked 10,000 adults to assess their personal experiences of 206 corporations in terms of "accessibility", and meeting their "functional" and "emotional" needs.

Overall, a modest 28% of the organisations analysed were awarded a "good" or "excellent" rating, whereas 37% fell into the "poor" or "very poor" segment. Another 34% achieved a status of "OK".

Sam's Club, the discount warehouse network, claimed top spot on 85%. It logged the strongest results on all three measures, with 92% for accessibility, 88% for the practical benefits it provided and 76% for the emotional experience.

Publix, the grocery chain, was second on 81%. It bettered Starbucks, the coffee house giant, Subway, the fast-food specialist, and Chick-fil-A, also from the quick service industry, which were all on 80%.

Aldi, the discount supermarket group, matched this total, as did Winn-Dixie and HEB from the grocery sector. These seven operators were the only companies to receive "excellent" ratings.

In category terms, retailers posted the highest scores on 71.4%. Second place was shared between hotel chains and banks, both on 65.2%, with members of this latter cohort up by 3.2% percentage points from 2011.

Insurance companies took third on 63.8%, beating investment firms on 62.1%. Health plan providers had the lowest average returns, yielding a norm of just 52.3%.

"Across all 18 industries, the emotional experience scores fall well below the functional and accessible scores," the study added. "Only two industries, grocery chains and fast food chains, earned an average rating of "OK" in this area."

Elsewhere, USAA headed the credit card and insurance charts, with 73% in each field. Chevrolet was the top auto dealer on 70%, Apple led the computer rankings on 65% and Southwest Airlines was the premier air carrier on 73%.

Among the firms posting major improvements year on year were PNC bank, gaining 15.3 points, Lenovo, the Chinese PC manufacturer, up by 15.2 points, and Farmers insurance, with a 13.9 point lift.

In contrast, Regions bank lost 12.9 points year on year, Kohl's, the retailer, was down 9.6 points, Hyatt hotels slid by nine points and Cox Communications, the internet service provider, saw an 8.4 point contraction.

Data sourced from the Temkin Group; additional content by Warc staff