J.D. Power might have to open a new wing in its Customer Satisfaction Hall of Fame.

For the 11th consecutive year, Ace Hardware garnered the top spot in J.D. Power’s 2017 Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study.

Ace Hardware (835) scored significantly higher than the study average in the staff and service factor (+53 points) as well as store facility (+16 points), driven by strong attribute ratings for availability and knowledge of sales staff; availability of desired merchandise; and availability of product information.

Menards (824) ranked second and Lowe’s (817) was third. Next on the list are Study Average (816), The Home Depot (812), True Value (810), and Sears 803).

The study measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers by examining five factors (in alphabetical order): merchandise; price; sales and promotions; staff and service; and store facility. It is based on responses from 2,751 customers who purchased home improvement-related products from a home improvement retailer within the previous 12 months and was fielded in February and March 2017.

“Even in a large market like home improvement, it’s the attention to detail that can affect customer satisfaction," said Greg Truex, senior director of the at-home practice at J.D. Power. "Home improvement retailers understand that customers with higher levels of satisfaction are more likely to repurchase and more likely to recommend to their friends and family."

The three key performance indicators (KPIs) that have the highest effect on satisfaction are (in order of importance): number of times received sale/promotional flyers/brochures (received more than once in past 12 months); quality of merchandise (above expected); and length of time waited for greeting (waited less than five minutes).

There is a significant association with the number of top KPIs met and the likelihood to repurchase and recommend. When each of the top three KPIs is met, 72 percent of customers say they “definitely will” repurchase from the retailer. When two KPIs are met, that percentage drops to 47%. When one or no KPI is met, the percentages drop further to 36 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

Here are some other key study findings:

Expressing the loyalty: Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of delighted customers say they “strongly agree” that they are loyal to their retailer, compared to the study average of 40 percent. A similar percentage (70 percent) of delighted customers say they “strongly agree” that if they were unable to be a customer of their primary retailer, they would be disappointed, compared to the study average of 41 percent. What’s more, 82 percent of delighted customers say they “strongly agree” they are proud to be a customer of their primary retailer, compared to the study average of 47 percent.

Delightful experience influences recommendations: Among delighted customers, the average number of positive recommendations is 4.3, compared to the study average of 2.7.

Ace Hardware comprises more than 4,800 locally-owned hardware stores around the world.

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