Nine Retailers With the Worst Customer Service

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4. CVS Caremark
> Customer satisfaction score: 75
> 12-month revenue: $123.13 billion
> One-yr. share price change: 15.95%
> Industry: Health and personal care stores

CVS Caremark Corp. (NYSE: CVS) is one of the nation’s largest businesses in any industry, ranking 18th in the Fortune 500 for 2012. But its size has not brought the company the appreciation of customers. In each of the past three years, the company’s customer satisfaction rating has trailed those of rivals Rite Aid and Walgreens. However, not all customer service indicators reflect as negatively on the company. More than 75% of respondents to a poll by MSN Money and JZ Analytics rated customer service at CVS Caremark stores as “excellent” or “good.” Investors might also rate the company’s stock well with shares up 15.95% in the last year.

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3. Safeway
> Customer satisfaction score: 75
> 12-month revenue: $44.21 billion
> One-yr. share price change: 13.60%
> Industry: Supermarkets

Supermarket operator Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) is among the nation’s largest retailers. At the end of December, it had more than 1,600 stores. Its size, however, has not helped it satisfy customers, with many consumers finding shopping at Safeway to be tedious. In each of the past 10 years, Safeway has underperformed supermarkets as a whole in the ACSI. One major complaint Safeway has faced has been accusations of inaccurate pricing, which led the state of California to sue the company twice. According to The Consumerist, a court order required Safeway to refund customers $5, or give them the product free-of-charge, if they are charged more than the advertised price. But a report by CBS5 in San Francisco showed that the company still often overcharged consumers last year.

2. Netflix
> Customer satisfaction score: 75
> 12-month revenue: $3.61 billion
> One-yr. share price change: 70.80%
> Industry: E-commerce

While most online retailers have scored well on the ACSI, with an average score of 82 in 2012 versus an average of just 76.6 for all brick-and-mortar retailers, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) was an outlier. It received a score of just 75 in 2012, and just 74 in 2011, when the overall score for online retailers was an 81. This was a dramatic reversal from past years. In each year from 2006 through 2010, the company exceeded its benchmark, and in 2009 it was the top-scoring company of all those tracked by the ACSI for e-commerce. Netflix famously enraged customers in late 2011 when it increased prices and announced plans to separate its DVD rental and streaming platforms. But after a considerable hit to its image — consumers were outraged at the prospect of having to pay bills for two platforms that would not be coordinated — the company pulled the plug on the service split.

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1. Walmart
> Customer satisfaction score: 71
> 12-month revenue: $469.16 billion
> One-yr. share price change: 22.65%
> Industry: Department and discount stores; supermarkets

Among all retailers rated by the ACSI for customer satisfaction, none received a worse score than the 71 for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), which it received from the ACSI when it was graded as a department and discount store. When graded for customer satisfaction as a supermarket, Walmart’s ACSI score was not much better, at just a 72. This was by far the worst in that category. This is hardly new territory for the company. Walmart has been the lowest rated department or discount store in the nation every year between 2007 through 2012. Worse, it has been the lowest rated supermarket every year since 2005. And the company’s performance in e-commerce is not particularly impressive either. According to ForeSee’s E-Retail Satisfaction Index, Walmart received a grade of 78 on a 100 point scale during the 2012 holiday season, while rival Amazon.com led all e-retailers with a score of 88.