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Grocery, quickservice chains provide the best customer experience, report says

2 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

Supermarkets and quickservice chains deliver when it comes to customer experience, according to a new report from the Temkin Group, which found that H.E.B. provides customers with the top-rated experience, followed by Trader Joe’s, Chick-fil-A and Publix. Grocery and quickservice companies account for 15 of the top 21 companies rated in the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings, which considers 10,000 consumer ratings of 268 companies based on their functional, accessible and emotional experiences.

One of the reasons grocery and quickservice chains performed so well in the rankings is because customers have simpler interactions with those types of companies than they do with companies in other industries such as banks and credit card companies, according to Bruce Temkin, author of the report and customer experience transformist and managing partner for the Temkin Group.

“Customer experience is all about consistently delivering on your brand promises. Many brands in the food industry are doing a really good job,” he said.

Respondents said they had “excellent” functional, accessible and emotional experiences at H.E.B., with the retailer earning the only “excellent” rating for emotional experience. Food Lion and Trader Joe’s followed H.E.B. closely in the accessible and emotional experiences, respectively. Subway and Starbucks also performed well in the functional experience category, as did Burger King, Chick-fil-A in the accessible experience category and Chick-fil-A and Sonic Drive-In in the emotional experience category.

Not every grocery and quickservice company came in at the top of the ratings, however. A&P ranked lowest among supermarkets and Orange Julius ranked lowest among quickservice chains.

“There’s a wide spread between the ratings of H.E.B. and Trader Joe’s along with Chick-fil-A and Sonic Drive-In on the high side and the much lower rated A&P and Orange Julius,” Temkin said. “The difference between the better performing and worse performing companies is often the focus and attention that the management team puts on both customers and employees.”

On the other end of the spectrum, television and internet service providers, health plans and rental car companies came out on the bottom of the rankings.

“Most companies with highly rated customer experience also have highly engaged workers, and that’s no accident,” Temkin said. “Our research shows that employees who understand the mission of the company and feel that they are being listened to tend to be much more productive and more effective at consistently delivering great customer experience.”