Branding Works Across the Board
Looking for service with a smile the next time you stop for a quick bite to eat? Subway or Cici's Pizza might be the answer, according to Corporate Research International's latest survey, "Real People Ratings Best of 2005," which asks people to rate 11 different service areas, from fast-food chains to sporting goods stores. The survey was conducted in May, August, and December of 2005. Respondents were asked to rate their perception of each business's customer service on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. If a respondent didn't have experience with the business, the auditor did not enter a score for that particular company.
"The results of this survey have important implications, because they reflect the everyday consumer's perception of each establishment rated," says Mike Mallett, CEO of Corporate Research International. Companies were rated in one of the following 11 categories: convenience stores, department stores, drug stores, electronic stores, fast-food restaurant, full-service restaurant, home improvement stores, pizza restaurants, shoe stores, sporting goods stores, and supermarkets.
BP was the leading convenience store (6.83); Nordstrom finished first in the department store category, posting an 8.02 customer service average, the highest in the survey; Walgreen's took the top drug store category (7.48); Best Buy brought home top honors in the electronics category (7.2); in fast food, Subway finished first (7.42); in the full-service restaurant category, Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse tied for first with a 7.94; Ace Hardware topped the home improvement category (7.62); Cici's came in first for pizza (7.42); for shoes, Stride Rite (7.47) led the pack; For sporting goods, Dick's Sporting Goods (7.10) topped the list; and Publix (7.79) was the best-rated supermarket.
Mallett says the results highlight the importance of brand image and consumer perception. "This perception could come from advertising, word-of-mouth, direct experience with the business, the company's Web site or any combination of those," he says. "It truly reinforces how important it is for companies to be consistent in their marketing, customer service, operations, and reputation across the board. The compilation of these things is what forms the ultimate brand perception in the consumer's mind."
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