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U.S. Retailer Customer Service Survey Results

According to the second annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation and American Express 'Customer Service Survey', online retailer Amazon.com is the nation's top company for customer service.

Amazon.com is followed by Nordstrom, L.L.Bean, Overstock.com, and Lane Bryant. Retailers rounding out the top ten included Boscov's, Kohl's, REI, Lands' End, and Macy's. The top ten will be honored with the "Customer's Choice" award, given to companies that have achieved a reputation for excellence in customer service.

"Consumers are beginning to demand more from retailers and are making conscious decisions about where to shop based on their expectations for good service," said NRF Foundation President Tracy Mullin. "Making sure that customers have an exceptional shopping experience is at the top of the list for retailers this holiday season."

When it comes to service, customers say they expect the most from restaurants, which had a 4.46 rating out of 5.0. Specialty stores (4.40) and department stores (4.12) were next on the list.

Although they expect more from some retailers than others, shopper's expectations of service rose in all categories this year compared to last. According to the survey, customer's service expectations have risen the most with warehouse clubs (a 3.86 rating this year compared to a 3.58 rating in 2005, a 7.95 percent increase), discount stores (3.40 vs. 3.21, a 5.88 percent increase) and online (3.92 vs. 3.71, a 5.75 percent increase).

"From flexible return policies to friendly sales associates, the definition of customer service varies from one shopper to another," said Glenda McNeal, Senior Vice President, Retail and Emerging Industries, American Express Establishment Services. "However shoppers choose to measure service, retailers are constantly evaluating the customer experience to ensure that people are receiving the best service possible."

The survey, which polled 8,001 consumers, was conducted by consumer marketing intelligence firm BIGresearch from September 6-13, 2006. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

Consumers answered the open ended question, "Which retailer delivers the best customer service?" In order to develop a fair comparison, regardless of a retailer's size or geographic coverage, the consumer survey responses were compared to each retailer's 2005 revenues to develop the overall rankings.

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