The American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Winners and Losers: What it Means for Australian Retailers

By Mila D’Antonio Managing Editor for 1to1 Magazine

The importance of delivering exceptional customer experiences during a down economy is essential to fostering customer satisfaction–a critical measure for success. But according to the 2011 fourth quarter customer satisfaction report released recently by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, there were only mild improvements in customer satisfaction with a yearly gain of .07 percent, and some not-so-surprising winners and losers.

The losers It’s no surprise, for example that Netflix’s customer satisfaction took a nosedive for 2011, crashing down 14 percent to 74, one of the biggest year-on-year losses in ACSI history. Netflix customers left in droves last fall, following price hikes and a controversial plan to move DVD-by-mail customers to a separate service.

CVS Caremark fell to a seven-year low of 73 (-1 percent) in the face of cost-cutting measures.

With a 4 percent satisfaction hit, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is now alone in last place at 70–six points below the industry average and the next-lowest chain (Sears at 76).

Barnes & Noble, the sole traditional bookstore chain left standing after Borders’ closing, takes an unwelcome hit in customer satisfaction–down 4 percent to 79.

Expedia lost 3 percent and the industry lead at 77 in the online travel category.

The winners The star among all retailers–traditional or online–is Amazon. Amazon took the biggest customer satisfaction lead with its score of 86, followed by Newegg at 85 (+1 percent).

In the flat discount and department store industry, Nordstrom shows that quality still counts with a leading score of 84 (+2 percent). J.C. Penney improved 2 percent to 82, capturing second place and moving just ahead of Kohl’s.

Four years of steady gains brought Home Depot to an all-time ACSI high of 78 (+4 percent).

Travelocity rose to the top of its category with a 3 percent gain to 79 that places it in a tie with the aggregate of all smaller travel sites.

And in the supermarket category, Publix remains the top grocer, continuing its customer satisfaction reign unchallenged at a high score of 84.

With satisfaction with e-commerce Web sites up 1 percent overall to 80.1 and beating brick-and-mortar retailers, companies show that they’re investing in e-commerce. The shift may put pressure on bricks-and-mortars in the coming year as online service takes the spotlight.

Australian bricks and mortar retailers will have to start really innovating in the space if they are to withstand  the boom of e-commerce.

Does anyone have any statistics on the precentage increase of Australian Online retailing?


This article was written for the 1to1 Media blog by Mila D’Antonio Managing Editor for 1to1 Media Magazine (US) which is a division of the Peppers & Rogers Group


3 thoughts on “The American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Winners and Losers: What it Means for Australian Retailers

  1. The Rise of the Data-Driven CMO was 2011.

    2012 will see The Rise of the Revenue-Driven CMO!

    Don’t you think its about time, Marketing should prove the REVENUE impact of their campaigns to their organisation’s bottom line?

    Will Scully-Power
    Managing Director

  2. Good point Will. I feel revenue has always been front of mind for CMO’s – often too much, and to the detriment of some marketing ideas getting signoff etc…. I feel that while revenue is a huge factor, it would be better to simply focus on the ROI. If the data or campaign isn’t getting the expected return and customer cut-through that can translate into dollars, then they’ll simply re-evaluate their direction. It would be great to hear your view on the ‘revenue driven CMO’ in a similar context to the above if you feel strongly on it?
    Catherine, ADMA

  3. Often too much… that’s the problem… it never has been. That’s fluff. Tell me one CMO that has a KPI which proves the direct REVENUE contribution of their budget/campaigns to an organisations bottom line? Show me how they accurately provide this insight and in what format? They may have the KPI, but the historical problem is they have never been able to prove it due to a number of reasons including data disparity.

    ROI is somewhat of a false metric. It a marketers has a positive ROI of 100% and that 100% is $10 then in the eyes of the Marketer its a “positive ROI”. What is that in the eyes of the CEO? Success? Revenue generation? As a marketer you can have 100 campaigns each having a positive ROI but all losing money for an organisation i.e. not a positive return on revenue generation.

    Time for marketer to hide behind vanity metrics, step up to the plate, learn about real revenue metrics and earn a seat at the revenue table.

    Until this time, CEO’s will continue to see Marketing as a cost centre and not a revenue contributor.

    The Definitive Guide to Marketing Metrics and Marketing Analytics shows marketing professionals how to talk the talk of C-level executives in terms of forecasting and reporting, and walk the walk to the revenue table by leveraging metrics that matter.

    Start learning how to do it today!


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