KPMG: H-E-B, Chick-fil-A among top 10 brands offering best customer experience

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KPMG: H-E-B, Chick-fil-A among top 10 brands offering best customer experience

By Marianne Wilson - 07/20/2020

Four retailers and two restaurant chains cracked the upper ranks of a customer experience ranking.

H-E-B retained its No. 2 spot in the 2020 KPMG U.S. Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) report, with Chick-fil-A once again coming in third. In-N-Out Burger was No. 6, followed by Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 7, Publix, No. 8, and Wegmans No. 9. (For the complete list, see end of article.)

The report, which identifies the top-performing brands and industries in terms of customer experience based on a survey, found that brands that were able to continue to transact with their customers in the COVID-19 environment performed better than those that were unable to. Brands that used technology, including AI, to transfer the in-store experience online reaped the rewards of customer loyalty.

The two pillars on which the top 10 U.S. brands averagely outperformed the market during 2020 were integrity and empathy. The top performers have an average score of 8.5 out of 10, similar to last year, although there was less brand interaction due to COVID-19. 

"Leaders in our 2020 index are purpose-led companies with deep connective customer relationships, offering online experiences that are immersive, emotionally connective and safe," said Julio Hernandez, U.S. Customer Advisory Practice lead at KPMG LLP. "With the move to online accelerating due to COVID-19, the nature of the relationship between brands and their customers has changed, bringing the need for commercial cadence to the forefront. Our analysis also shows a move to the age of 'buying into' from 'buying from,' as customers are seeking companies that make a difference environmentally and socially." 

The report also ranked the top performers by industry. Grocery retail remained in the top industry position with an average score increasing to 8.04 out of 10 in 2020, compared to 7.96 in 2019. 

Restaurant and fast-food move to second place in 2020 from third place last year with a score of 7.94, compared to 7.84 in 2019. Non-grocery retail fell to third place in 2020 from second place in 2019, with a score dropping to 7.79, compared to 7.87 last year.

Highest U.S. risers in 2020
The brands with the highest increase in their survey rankings in the U.S. this year showed that they were able to maintain their commercial cadence, while scoring high on their six pillar performance, differentiating themselves from the pack on integrity and empathy.  

Here are some highlights on the highest-rising brands.

• Northeast chain Hannaford was the biggest mover, rising 137 places as it not only placed its customers and employees first, but fused smart in-store technology with online purchasing and rewards to make their customers lives easier. 

“Hannaford looked at the experience from the eyes of the shopper and looked to facilitate the easiest and most engaging path to purchase,” the report stated.

• Zappos also made significant progress on the index, rising 68 places as the company used creative marketing and omnichannel experiences to became more deeply embedded in its customers' lives. For example, to help its customers get into the right running shoes — a common challenge for runners — Zappos offered a 30-day return guarantee no matter how many miles were run in the sneakers. 

• Sephora also rose 63 places as the company was creative in using sophisticated technology to transfer the in-store experience online and even in some areas enhance it.

The research for the U.S. report was conducted via an online survey, with about 11,000 U.S. customers interviewed and asked to rate their experiences with over 300 U.S. brands across the six pillars of experience. For more information on the 2020 KPMG U.S. Customer Experience Excellence report, click here.

Below are the 2020 top U.S brands. 
1.    USAA 
2.    H-E-B 
3.    Chick-fil-A 
4.    Navy Federal Credit Union 
5.    Edward Jones
6.    In-N-Out Burger 
7.    Costco Wholesale 
8.    Publix 
9.    Wegmans 
10.  Charles Schwab

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