2015 Best and Worst Retail Customer Ratings and Rankings

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What makes the best and worst retail customer experience? According to the Temkin Group research and consulting firm, it's a combination of three aspects of a customer's interaction with a company - functional, accessible, and emotional.

If it is true that customer experience can be defined in this simple way, then the next logical question for those interested in the U.S. retail industry would be which retailing companies are best and worst at providing customers with a smooth and glitch-free functional experience, an easy access experience, and an experience that makes an emotional impact?

The annual Temkin Customer Experience report is created to reveal exactly that - the largest U.S. retailing companies that have been delivering consistently best and worst customer experiences in the past year, as rated and reported by the customers themselves. Consumers are surveyed and asked just three questions about their latest interaction with a company to determine customer's opinions about each company's functionality (from "completely failed" to "completely successful"), accessibility (from "very difficult" to "very easy"), and emotional impact (from "upset" to "delighted"). Individual opinions are averaged, and a customer experience ranking is obtained based on the average customer scores.

Whether or not functionality, accessibility, and emotional impact are the only three aspects of the retail experience that customers care about is another discussion for another article. The Temkin research consultants believe it's that simple.

  Perhaps they're correct, but in 2015 there are likely several retailing companies that strongly disagree.

Are the customer experiences at the typical Taco Bell and Sonic Drive-In better than the typical Starbucks customer experience? Do Walgreens nail polish and cough syrup customers have a better customer experience than fanatically loyal Costco customers who are willing to pay an annual fee for the right to walk in the Costco front door?

  Is the typical customer experience at the typical 7-Eleven store more than twice as good as the customer experience delivered by trained home improvement specialists at Home Depot?

According to the Temkin Customer Experience definition and survey methodology, the answer is "Yes." According to my personal customer experiences, the answer is "No way," "Never," and "Not even close."

What follows is a list of the retailing companies that were rated by consumers for customer experience in the 2015 Temkin ranking report. This list is arranged according to the customer experience ranking each company received when compared to all companies in all industries. The number in the left column is the comparative ranking number, based on quantified survey ratings. (Sometimes ranking numbers are shared when companies received the same average ratings from customers.)

Click the links below for more information about each company. See also the five-year Comparison of Customer Experience Rankings 2015-2011 >>

2015 Best and Worst Retail Customer Experiences - Customer Rankings in Temkin Research Report:

1 Publix

2    Aldi

3    H-E-B

4    Amazon.com

4    PetSmart

4    Chick-fil-A

4    Trader Joe's

8    Hannaford's

8    Papa John's

8    Walgreens

13  Dairy Queen

13  Panera Bread

13  Subway

13  Sonic Drive-In

19  Bed Bath & Beyond

19  Costco

19  Lowe's

22  Advance Auto Parts

22  Dunkin Donuts

22  Food Lion

22  Kroger

22  O'Reilly Auto Parts

22  Pizza Hut

22  Popeye's

22  ShopRite

22  Taco Bell

22  Whole Foods

31  Dollar General

33  Albertsons

33  BJ's Wholesale Club

33  Chipotle Mexican Grill

33  Dollar Tree

33  Rite Aid

33  Starbucks

33  Wendy's

41  Ace Hardware

41  Arby's

41  AutoZone

41  Barnes & Noble

41  CVS

41  Giant Eagle

41  Sam's Club

41  Stop & Shop

41  Wegmans

52  Little Caesar's

60  Domino's

60  Panda Express

60  KFC

76  Burger King

89  Hardees

89  McDonald's

100 7-Eleven

128  Jack in the Box

128  Virgin Mobile

151  T-Mobile

187  Verizon

233  Home Depot

245  Sprint

253  AT&T

253  Chrysler

261  Audi

Worst Customer Experience Examples:

    Which retail chains provide the best experience to their customers? The people most qualified to answer that question are the customers themselves, which they do each year in a customer experience survey conducted by Temkin Group research and consulting firm. Between the years of 2015 and 2011, customers have rated and ranked retail chains like Aldi, Amazon, Sam's, Publix, and H-E-B as multi-year customer experience bests.  In that same period, customers have ranked retailing companies like Dell, AT&T, Ford, and RadioShack as multi-year customer experience worsts.

    By comparing customer experience rankings from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, it’s possible to see the trends of individual retailers as viewed by the customers they serve. What follows is a multi-year customer experience comparison of all retail chains that were included in the annual Temkin research from 2011 to 2015.

    The numbers to the right of the dates are the ranking numbers that each retail company was given based on the ratings of emotional impact, functionality, and accessibility provided by their customers, as compared to all companies from all industries.  A low ranking number indicates the retailing companies with the best customer experiences.  Higher ranking numbers identify the companies that customers consider to deliver the worst customer experiences.

    Multi-Year Comparison of Customer Ratings and Rankings of the Best and Worst Retail Industry Companies - 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011:

    2015 - 100
    2014 - 83
    2013 - 78
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Ace Hardware
    2015 - 41
    2014 - 22
    2013 - 7
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A


    2015 - 22
    2014 - 49
    2013 - 72
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Albertsons
    2015 - 33
    2014 - 15
    2013 - 29
    2012 - 35
    2011 - N/A

    Aldi
    2015 - 2

    2014 - 5
    2013 - 3
    2012 - 3
    2011 - N/A


    2015 - 4
    2014 - 15
    2013 - 5
    2012 - 10
    2011 - 1

    Apple Stores​
    2015 - N/A
    2014 - 119
    2013 - 150
    2012 - 89
    2011 - 79


    2015 - 41
    2014 - 33
    2013 - 13
    2012 - 18
    2011 - N/A


    2015 - 253
    2014 - 49
    2013 - 203
    2012 - 163
    2011 - 100

    Audi
    2015 - 261



    2015 - 41
    2014 - 40
    2013 - 29
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A


    2015 - 41
    2014 - 33
    2013 - 53
    2012 - 85
    2011 - 25


    2015 - 19
    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 36
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Best Buy
    2015 - N/A

    2014 - 70
    2013 - 107
    2012 - 75
    2011 - 41

    BJ's Wholesale Club
    2015 - 33

    2014 - 22
    2013 - 20
    2012 - 18
    2011 - 6


    2012 - Company went bankrupt
    2011 - 34

    BMW
    2015 - N/A

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 166
    2012 - 75
    2011 - N/A

    Burger King
    2015 - 76

    2014 - 15
    2013 - 45
    2012 - 57
    2011 - N/A

    Chevrolet

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 123
    2012 - 57
    2011 - N/A

    Chick-fil-A
    2015 - 4

    2014 - 3
    2013 - 3
    2012 - 3
    2011 - N/A

    Chipotle Mexican Grill
    2015 - 33


    Chrysler
    2015 - 253
    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 166
    2012 - 163
    2011 - N/A

    Costco
    2015 - 19

    2014 - 22
    2013 - 13
    2012 - 45
    2011 - 3

    CVS
    2015 - 41
    2014 - N96
    2013 - 53
    2012 - 27
    2011 - 14

    Dairy Queen
    2015 - 13

    2014 - 8
    2013 - 20
    2012 - 35
    2011 - N/A

    Dell
    2015 - N/A
    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 166
    2012 - 176
    2011 - 110

    Dodge

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 166
    2012 - 171
    2011 - N/A

    Dollar General
    2015 - 31

    2014 - 96
    2013 - 45
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Dollar Tree
    2015 - 33
    2014 - 29
    2013 - 20
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Domino's
    2015 - 60
    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 36
    2012 - 67
    2011 - N/A

    Dunkin' Donuts
    2015 - 22

    2014 - 40
    2013 - 7
    2012 - 23
    2011 - N/A

    eBay
    2015 - N/A
    2014 - 96
    2013 - 78
    2012 - 89
    2011 - 31

    Family Dollar

    2014 - 49
    2013 - 36
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Food Lion
    2015 - 22

    2014 - 5
    2013 - 45
    2012 - 23
    2011 - N/A

    Foot Locker
    2015 - N/A

    2014 - 174

    Ford

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 115
    2012 - 134
    2011 - N/A

    GameStop
    2015 - N/A

    2014 - 131
    2013 - 78
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Gap
    2015 - N/A
    2014 - 144
    2013 - 107
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - 56

    Giant Eagle
    2015 - 41
    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 29
    2012 - 27
    2011 - N/A

    Hannaford's
    2015 - 8


    Hardees

    2014 - 40
    2013 - 53
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    H-E-B
    2015 - 3

    2014 - 1
    2013 - 7
    2012 - 3
    2011 - N/A

    Hardees
    2015 - 89

    2014 - 40
    2013 - 53
    2012 - 102
    2011 - N/A

    Home Depot
    2015 - 233
    2014 - 33
    2013 - 29
    2012 - 27
    2011 - 19

    Honda

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 115
    2012 - 117
    2011 - N/A

    Hy-Vee

    2014 - 33
    2013 - 13
    2012 - 18
    2011 - N/A

    Hyundai

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - N/A
    2012 - 163
    2011 - N/A

    Jack in the Box
    2015 - 128

    2014 - 40
    2013 - 20
    2012 - 62
    2011 - N/A

    JCPenney

    2014 - 77
    2013 - 100
    2012 - 27
    2011 - 11

    KFC
    2015 - 60

    2014 - 40
    2013 - 107
    2012 - 52
    2011 - N/A

    Kia

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - N/A
    2012 - 178
    2011 - N/A

    Kmart
    2015 - N/A

    2014 - 119
    2013 - 72
    2012 - 75
    2011 - 38

    Kohl's
    2015 - N/A

    2014 - 96
    2013 - 64
    2012 - 57
    2011 - 2

    Kroger
    2015 - 22
    2014 - 8
    2013 - 20
    2012 - 10
    2011 - N/A

    Little Caesar's
    2015 - 52

    2014 - 15
    2013 - 7
    2012 - 27
    2011 - N/A

    Lowe's
    2015 - 19
    2014 - 29
    2013 - 72
    2012 - 18
    2011 - 4

    Macy's
    2015 - N/A
    2014 - 109
    2013 - 72
    2012 - 62
    2011 - 18

    Marshalls

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 89
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    McDonalds
    2015 - 89

    2014 - 49
    2013 - 78
    2012 - 52
    2011 - N/A

    Nissan

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 182
    2012 - 163
    2011 - N/A

    Nordstrom

    2014 - 59
    2013 - 13
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Office Depot

    2014 - N83
    2013 - 36
    2012 - 102
    2011 - 31

    OfficeMax

    2014 - 77
    2013 - 64
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - 29

    Old Navy

    2014 - 77
    2013 - 53
    2012 - 52
    2011 - 8

    O'Reilly Auto Parts
    2015 - 22
    2014 - 59
    2013 - 53
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Panda Express
    2015 - 60

    Panera Bread
    2015 - 13

    Papa John's
    2015 - 8


    PetSmart
    2015 - 4
    2014 - 22
    2013 - 20
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Piggly Wiggly

    2014 - 8
    2013 - 45
    2012 - 67
    2011 - N/A

    Pizza Hut
    2015 - 22

    2014 - 22
    2013 - 36
    2012 - 14
    2011 - N/A

    Popeye's
    2015 - 22


    Publix
    2015 - 1

    2014 - 3
    2013 - 1
    2012 - 2
    2011 - N/A

    QVC

    2014 - 49
    2013 - 36
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Quiznos

    2014 - 49
    2013 - 45
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    RadioShack
    2015 - N/A

    2014 - 196
    2013 - 191
    2012 - 151
    2011 - 98

    Rite Aid
    2015 - 33
    2014 - 49
    2013 - 45
    2012 - 35
    2011 - 10

    Ross

    2014 - 83
    2013 - 107
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Safeway

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 29
    2012 - 27
    2011 - N/A

    Sam's Club
    2015 - 41

    2014 - 8
    2013 - 5
    2012 - 1
    2011 - 4

    Save-a-Lot

    2014 - 29
    2013 - 5
    2012 - 35
    2011 - N/A

    Sears
    2015 - N/A

    2014 - 119
    2013 - 53
    2012 - 75
    2011 - 24

    ShopRite
    2015 - 22
    2014 - 33
    2013 - 13
    2012 - 10
    2011 - N/A

    Sonic Drive-In
    2015 - 13

    2014 - 5
    2013 - 7
    2012 - 10
    2011 - N/A

    Sprint
    2015 - 245

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - N/A
    2012 - 129
    2011 - N/A

    Staples

    2014 - 83
    2013 - 36
    2012 - 45
    2011 - 27

    Starbucks
    2015 - 33

    2014 - 8
    2013 - 20
    2012 - 3
    2011 - N/A

    Stop & Shop
    2015 - 41
    2014 - 40
    2013 - 64
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Subway
    2015 - 13

    2014 - 15
    2013 - 13
    2012 - 3
    2011 - N/A

    T-Mobile
    2015 - 151

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 203
    2012 - 171x
    2011 - 114

    Taco Bell
    2015 - 22
    2014 - 33
    2013 - 72
    2012 - 23
    2011 - N/A

    Target

    2014 - 77
    2013 - 36
    2012 - 14
    2011 - 9

    T.J. Maxx

    2014 - 70
    2013 - 107
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Toyota

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 78
    2012 - 75
    2011 - N/A

    Toys 'R Us
    2015 - N/A

    2014 - 109
    2013 - 64
    2012 - 52
    2011 - 45


    2015 - 4
    2014 - 2
    2013 - 2
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    True Value

    2014 - 40
    2013 - 64
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Verizon Wireless
    2015 - 187

    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 222
    2012 - 124
    2011 - N/A

    Virgin Mobile
    2015 - 128
    2014 - N/A
    2013 - 160
    2012 - N/A
    2011 - N/A

    Wal-Mart
    2015 - N/A

    2014 - 102
    2013 - 100
    2012 - 57
    2011 - 13

    Walgreens
    2015 - 8

    2014 - 40
    2013 - 20
    2012 - 14
    2011 - 7

    Wendy's
    2015 - 33

    2014 - 22
    2013 - 53
    2012 - 23
    2011 - N/A

    Wegmans
    2015 - 41


    Whole Foods
    2015 - 22
    2014 - 49
    2013 - 36
    2012 - 18
    2011 - N/A

    Winn-Dixie

    2014 - 40
    2013 - 29
    2012 - 3
    2011 - N/A

    Worst Customer Service Examples

    Customer Service of Specific Retail Companies