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L.L. Bean Bests Amazon's Customer Service

August 07, 2017

Amazon has disrupted retail. But there’s one thing it hasn’t disrupted: L.L. Bean’s top position in customer service.

Prosper Insights & Analytics recently published its latest Customer Service Champions ranking. And, for the third year in a row, L.L. Bean came in at No. 1.

“L.L.Bean’s customer-centric philosophy certainly resonates with shoppers, earning the outdoor outfitter a rare retail bragging right: a first place finish over Amazon,” said Pam Goodfellow, Prosper’s principal analyst and the author of the report.

But never fear, Amazon came in at No. 2. It is followed by preppy clothing retailer Lands’ End. Fingerhut came in next. And discount department store Kohl’s occupies the fifth position.

Other retailers discussed in the 2016 Customer Service Champions report include Bed Bath & Beyond, Belk, Best Buy, Costco, HSN, JCPenney, Kmart, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Meijer, Nordstrom, Publix, QVC, REI, Sears, Target, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart, Wegmans, and

The American Customer Satisfaction Index also recently published a retail report for 2016. And it says that customer satisfaction related to retailers overall was up 5 percent last year. That followed two years of declining customer satisfaction, according to the ACSI.

“With a 3.8 percent gain in customer satisfaction, online retail leads the sector with a score of 83,” says ACSI. “The internet is now the preferred place to shop, and Amazon continues its leadership, capturing the majority of online sales growth in the United States. Amazon’s ACSI score advances by 4 percent to 86 amid a strong holiday season.”

Newegg, “all others”, eBay, Netflix, and Overstock were the next highest customer satisfaction scorers in ACSI’s Internet Retail category.

Costco, Barnes & Noble, L Brands, and Sam’s Club were leaders in ACSI’s Specialty Retail Stores category. Meanwhile, in the department store category, Dillard’s came in first with a score of 82. Interestingly, Nordstrom’s customer satisfaction dropped 2 percent last year, so now it’s at 80 with Belk and Dollar Tree. And Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Target are one point below that.

“Traditional mall outlets like Sears and Macy’s are beset by competition from many fronts—including specialty stores such as Home Depot and Costco and superstores like Target—and all chains face mounting online competition,” ACSI notes. “Visits to malls are down, but as the retail landscape continues to shift toward e-commerce, department stores are integrating online shopping with brick-and-mortar operations via in-store pickup and returns. This works to combine the convenience of online shopping with the benefit of personal service.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle