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Circuit City Ranks First In Customer Respect Study

Rodney Dangerfield should have shopped at

That’s because the online arm of the No. 2 CE retailer was No. 1 when it came to customer respect, according to a new report by the Customer Respect Group (CRG), a research and consulting firm based here.

According to the company’s Third Quarter 2006 Online Customer Respect Study of Retailers, which focuses on how well e-tailers treat their customers, Circuit City led the CE pack (and most industries) with a Customer Respect Index (CRI) score of 6.8 out of a possible 10. RadioShack and tied for second place with rankings of 6.6 each, followed by Best Buy, CompUSA and Crutchfield, which tied for third.

The report analyzed 51 retailers across a variety of retail categories with a major online presence and assigned each a CRI score based on how its online operations measured up to the core criteria of site usability, communication and trust.

Five of the 51 companies performed well enough to be classified in the Excellent Online Customer Respect category. These companies included Sears, CVS and Wal-Mart.

Home Depot, Target, OfficeMax and PCMall were among the 15 sites to score below 6.0 on the CRI index, prompting CRG to suggested that these retailers need to reevaluate many aspects of their Web sites or risk losing visitors and customers.

When broken down into subcategories for each of the CRI’s criteria, Sears scored highest for trust and Walgreens scored highest for site usability.

Online retailers had an average CRI score of 6.2, which matches that of the telecommunications industry and puts both sectors at the top of all industries measured.

The report noted that e-tailers asked for more personal data than other industries when submitting a question online, with 20 percent of companies requiring 10 or more fields to be completed. Seventy six percent of sites surveyed routinely reuse personal data for ongoing marketing campaigns and 43 percent of the sites share personal data with other companies without the express permission of the customer. The industry received an overall score of 4.7 in the trust category.

The firm categorized the companies into a variety of retail sectors including general merchandisers, accessories and apparel, food and drug stores, electronic goods, home and office. Sears was the leader in the general merchandise area, Circuit City lead electronic goods and Staples was at the top of the home and office category.

Most ‘Respectful’ Online CE Specialty Stores