Indianapolis — hhgregg ranked highest in customer satisfaction in a J.D. Power assessment of major appliance retailers.
The multiregional majap, CE and home-furnishings chain earned the top spot for the performance of its sales staff and the quality of its delivery and installation services.
Other criteria considered in the consumer survey were showroom appearance, merchandise selection and pricing.
hhgregg captured the top slot for the first time in the study’s seven-year history, topping Lowe’s, Sears, Best Buy and The Home Depot, which placed second through fifth, respectively. Lowe’s performed well within the showroom and price factors, and tied with Sears in the merchandise category, the market research firm said.
“While price remains a leading driver for more than half of customers when selecting an appliance store, retailers can’t rely on price alone to remain competitive,” said J.D. Power home improvement practice director Christina Cooley. “The sales staff has an opportunity to differentiate the customer experience through engagement activities from the moment a customer walks in the door, all the way through appliance selection, delivery and installation.”
She said simple engagement activities that don’t require extensive training, such as greeting a customer promptly, offering assistance and having a positive attitude, can go a long way toward increasing satisfaction, additional purchases and recommendations.
Among other key takeaways from the study:
*Customers on average make two to three visits to the same retailer before purchasing an appliance.
*Some 38 percent of consumers shop only one retailer and don’t consider others.
*Multiple brands were discussed less frequently while shopping than in 2013 (58 percent vs. 63 percent, respectively), although only 14 percent of customers said the salesperson tried to steer them toward a specific brand.
What’s more, over half (52 percent) of customers rely on the retailer to deliver and install their new appliances.
J.D. Power’s 2014 Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 2,900 customers who purchased a laundry or kitchen appliance within the previous 12 months from a major appliance retailer.
The study was fielded between January and March 2014, and showed a 2 percent increase in overall majap dealer satisfaction from last year.