Nine Retailers with the WORST Customer Service


In today’s changing world the product is no longer the most important thing in the shopping process, people are beginning to care more about customer satisfaction, especially in the retail industry. Although its true that customer satisfaction is improving, not all retailers are keeping up with today’s expectations, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

Brick and mortar are still the highest rated retailers; however e-commerce is beginning to excel as well. On the negative side, traditional retailers are the ones that are receiving the most negative assessments.

Although many traditional retailers remain with good or average scores, especially the ones that compete with online shops.

In the latest ACSI study, the average for retail companies was 76.6 of a 100-point scale in 2012. With the exception of Internet retail, which is considered as e-commerce for ACSI. This Industry got an 82 score, and from the nine worst rated retailers from ACSI scores, there was just one online retailer.

But even an “average” score, can be considered bad for business, because customer expectations are very important for a company’s score. However customers are lowering their expectations. They’re not actually looking for better shopping experience in the traditional retailers, and for internet retail is the other way around, customers are expecting more of them.

The businesses that failed to impress customers last year have been having a difficult time for many years. As we learned in class, many companies go under because they failed to understand what the customer really wanted. For example, Safeway has been struggling with customer satisfaction for the past 10 years.

For other companies underperforming is a relatively new obstacle, like the case of Netflix, that outperformed average for four years and in 2009 was rated the top retailers, but in the past two years the Internet video retailer has been considered the worst Internet rated company.

Although traditional retailers are struggling to keep customers satisfied, they still have the majority of the sales, but its probable that if Internet retailers continue outperforming in customer satisfaction (compared to traditional retailers) they will gain brick and mortar market share eventually.


Nine retailers with worst customer service:

9. Walgreens– Health/ Personal care

• Customer satisfaction score: 76

• 12-month revenue: $70.79 billion

• One-yr. share price change: 22.42%

8. TJX Companies — retail

• Customer satisfaction score: 76

• 12-month revenue: $25.88 billion

• One-yr. share price change: 20.18%

7. Gap — Retail

• Customer satisfaction score: 76

• 12-month revenue: $15.65 billion

• One-yr. share price change: 45.84%

6. Supervalu — supermarkets

• Customer satisfaction score: 76

• 12-month revenue: $34.77 billion

• One-yr. share price change: -35.60%

5. Sears — department Store

• Customer satisfaction score: 75

• 12-month revenue: $39.85 billion

• One-yr. share price change: -34.60%

4. CVS– health/personal care

• Customer satisfaction score: 75

• 12-month revenue: $123.13 billion

• One-yr. share price change: 15.95%

3. Safeway –– supermarkets

• Customer satisfaction score: 75

• 12-month revenue: $44.21 billion

• One-yr. share price change: 13.60%

2. Netflix – e-commerce

• Customer satisfaction score: 75

• 12-month revenue: $3.61 billion

• One-yr. share price change: 70.80%

1. Wal-Mart — department store

• Customer satisfaction score: 71

• 12-month revenue: $469.16 billion

• One-yr. share price change: 22.65%


Sources Cited:

10 thoughts on “Nine Retailers with the WORST Customer Service

  1. The increase in importance for Customer Satisfaction is becoming increasingly important for certain companies. There are some companies such as Netflix on the list that do not set Customer service high on the importance list because their service does the profit-making satisfaction for them. People do not use Netflix for the service, they use it to watch conveniently watch their movies and shows.

  2. I think this a great buzz word to focus on “customers”. All these stores mentioned I would never equate to customer service. I go to all these places for value, savings, trust or convenience. These retailers have prospered on those motives as a way to satisfy their consumers.

    However it’s interesting to see how those standards are evolving away as a push back towards service towards consumers is back in focus. Just look at JCPenny or Netflix and how their service and attention to customers has almost killed their entire business. Even McDonald’s is under fire for poor customer service.

    This is such a great topic and it’ll be interesting to see how sales and images of these companies will begin to fail if they don’t reinvent their treatment to customers.

  3. Every time I walk into a superstore I usually struggle trying to find an employee to help me. However, these superstores continue to thrive in their business, and I continue to go regardless, why is that? I go to these places because it is convenient, and I can buy multiple products that I may need at one location. The only problem as I mentioned in the beginning is that it takes me awhile to find all those products in the store because I am getting no assistance. One store that came to mind is Target, however they are not in your list of bad customer Service. In my opinion Target has terrible customer service, which is not to say they hire bad employees. What I am merely stating is that they do not hire enough employees to roam the rows of the store. These superstores have terrible customer service because too often they force the customer to find products by themselves, as there are usually no employees in site.

  4. Customer service is a big part of the businesses these days. For me personally, it is very important. Once I go to a store, if the employees there don’t behave the way they’re supposed to, I get easily irritated. This makes me hesitant to go to that store the next time. To see TJX nd companies listed on this list, is not a very big surprise to me because I used to work at TJ Maxx and it was the worst. I think management needs to also put into consideration the working environment for the employees so that they can offer good customer service to the customers. When I worked at TJ Maxx, there was not a minute where I could walk around and help people look for what they needed because I was in charge of 3 big departments by myself (Lingerie, Shoes and Accessories) and it was endless work. To offer good customer service, employees must be happy with the work they’re doing and this impacts their behaviors towards the customers. So, management definitely has a big part in this.

  5. I remember going into Walmart one time for windshield wipers and it took me one hour to purchase them. There was only one person attending the car area and he was busy with another customer. When he finally got to me he had no idea what windshield wipers would fit my car and where to find them. The worst part of it all is that they ended up being the wrong size. Customer service is a big part of business and big companies like Walmart should focus on training their employees to provide better service.

  6. I agree that customer satisfaction is essential to keep the consumers coming back. Brick and mortar retailers are having a hard to keep up with the customer expectations because they do not have a efficient management. They would have to train their employees more efficiently to assist their customers better. Consumers find it easier to shop from online retailers because it is convenient and easier to find things.

  7. Not surprised to see some of these companies on this list, honestly. Many companies need to realize that they need to make their employees happy. This will, in turn, make them WANT to help customers because they will WANT to be there. With that being said, these companies need to make sure their management is working the way they should be – good scheduling and enough employees per shift.

  8. I agree with JKurzac, that I am not surprised to see most of the companies on the worst customer service list. JDubain also has a good point. Why do we continue to go to these retailers? Yes, we go because they are convenient, but we also go because they are cheap. Most of the time we can find a product at Wal-Mart at a lower cost then target. I am prepared when I go to Wal-Mart to expect poor customer service. For me Wal-Mart’s poor customer service is also a benefit because if I buy the wrong product or it breaks, I know I will be able to return it no questions asked. Customer service is very important to the customers but it is a very expensive cost to the business. Does it make sense for a business to invest in their customer service when customer are going to continue to shop there either way?

  9. This article was very surprising to me. We are currently moving into a service based world. I would think that more retail stores would put more emphasis into customer service. Working in retail, it isn’t just about selling and making money, but to gain that customer base that will come back and continue buying those products. I was also surprised to see Wal-Mart up there, because the store has been praised for hiring all employees and not discriminating in the work place. So I wonder if that has any correlation to the poor customer service that Wal-Mart has received.

  10. This article made me think about how a customers’s satisfaction is crucial in terms of the survival of a company. I have a hard time understanding why any company would take the risk of losing customers. Mediocre service ruins the image of a name brand. It poorly reflects the corporate culture of the firms that are passed down to employees. This is important because in the long run, any firm that stop improving or maintaining service at the same high level is heading for serious trouble. Clearly, e-commerce has increased in terms of volume and overall quality according to the Customers Satisfaction Index. Brick and mortar companies need to do bette or they will lose loyal customers.

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