Best service at smaller stores: Consumer NZ

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If you’re craving a pleasant shopping experience this Christmas and New Year, you’re more likely to find it at the little guys than at the big chain stores.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said its latest retailer satisfaction survey found smaller players often out-performed the retail giants when it came to keeping customers happy.

“Harvey Norman, Godfreys, PlaceMakers, Specsavers, Bunnings, The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery all dragged the chain for overall customer satisfaction in one or more of the eight product categories we surveyed,” she said.

Ms Chetwin singled out Harvey Norman and Freedom Furniture as especially lacklustre performers.

“Harvey Norman returned below-average results in five product categories: large appliances, home technology, computing, mobile technology, and furniture and bedding. Shoppers were also more likely to report encountering pushy salespeople at the store,” she said.

“Freedom Furniture’s performance was the worst of the lot, earning the lowest overall satisfaction score of any retailer in our survey – 44 percent. Our members were less likely to say Freedom offered competitive prices or top-class point-of-sale service.”

Top performers in the survey included 100 percent Appliances, which returned strong results in both the appliance and home technology aisles. More than 80 percent of those surveyed who purchased whiteware or a kitchen appliance from one of 100% Appliances franchises said they were very satisfied with the experience.

Among big-box DIY stores, Mitre 10 had the edge on others when it came to expert advice and hassle-free returns and exchanges. Bunnings, PlaceMakers and The Warehouse all ranked below-average for satisfaction in this category.

Consumer NZ’s survey also covered optometrists and the results were crystal clear. Those who used an independent, local optometrist reported very high levels of satisfaction (82 percent), frequently saying they received good, friendly advice.

Ms Chetwin said the survey results would delight Apple fans.

“The online Apple Store dominated our technology categories, returning best or best-equal scores in computing, mobile and home tech,” she said.

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