Special Report

Ten Retailers With the Worst Customer Service

5. Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE: M)
> Customer satisfaction score: 76
> Industry: department and discount
> 2012 U.S. retail sales: $27.6 billion (14th most)

Macy’s ACSI score was only 76, second-worst among major department stores or discount retailers for 2013. Despite weak consumer satisfaction, consumers continued to visit the company’s Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s stores. The company’s same-store sales rose by 3.6% during the 2013 holiday season compared with the same period a year before. This was higher than the 2.7% increase in all brick-and-mortar sales reported by ShopperTrak, as The New York Times reported. The company also laid off 2,500 employees as part of its plans to cut costs. Customers are not the only ones dissatisfied with Macy’s, employees are too. The retailer has received relatively weak marks from employees as well, although two-thirds of reviewers approved of CEO Terry Lundgren’s performance.

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4. Walgreen Company (NYSE: WAG)
> Customer satisfaction score: 76
> Industry: health and personal care
> 2012 U.S. retail sales: $65.0 billion (6th most)

Walgreens was one of three health and personal care retailers among the companies with the four lowest ACSI scores. Walgreens was also one of just a few brick-and-mortar retailers that didn’t improve customer satisfaction since it was first reviewed by ACSI. Despite its unimpressive ACSI score, customer experience analytics company ForeSee ranked the company among the top retailers for customer retention. With more than $65 billion in sales nationwide, the drugstore was the nation’s sixth largest retailer in 2012.

3. CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS)
> Customer satisfaction score: 76
> Industry: health and personal care
> 2012 U.S. retail sales: $63.7 billion (7th most)

Like competitor Walgreens, CVS — another one of the nation’s largest retailers — was also poorly rated by ACSI. Despite improving in the index in each of the last two years, CVS continued to underperform the drugstore sector. In fact, customers were far more satisfied when shopping at smaller drugstores than at giants CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Investors and health advocates, however, may find reasons to approve of the company. The company’s earnings have frequently exceeded Wall Street’s expectations. It has also increasingly shifted away from simply dispensing drugs and moved further into providing basic health care services. In keeping with that goal, CVS recently announced plans to stop selling tobacco.

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2. Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD)
> Customer satisfaction score: 74
> Industry: health and personal care
> 2012 U.S. retail sales: $25.4 billion (18th most)

Rite Aid’s customer satisfaction was the worst among U.S. drugstore chains last year, underperforming even the already low ACSI scores of primary competitors Walgreens and CVS Caremark. Employees give the company a lower rating than its competitors, as well, according to Glassdoor.com. Just 34% of reviewers stated they would recommend the company to a friend. The company was far smaller than its major rivals, despite its impressive more-than $25 billion in domestic sales in 2012. CVS’ expansion into health services has come at Rite Aid’s expense, according to ACSI.

1. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc  (NYSE: WMT)
> Customer satisfaction score: 71
> Industry: department and discount
> 2012 U.S. retail sales: $328.7 billion (the most)

No retailer had a worse ACSI score than Wal-Mart’s 71 for customer satisfaction. Not only did the company have the lowest score of any department or discount store, but it also scored just 72 when graded as a supermarket — the lowest in that sector as well. ForeSee also rated the giant retailer’s relationship with customers poorly, despite high customer satisfaction for mobile and web business. Although employees and advocates continue to clamor for better benefits and higher minimum wage, Wal-Mart remains a retail powerhouse. In 2012, the company’s U.S. sales totaled nearly $329 billion, more than three times the second highest selling retailer, Kroger.

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