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    Publix, Wegmans Among J.D. Power 2012 Customer Service Champions

    Report notes that excellence hinges more on people than on price

    Included among the 50 brands that global marketing information services company J.D. Power and Associates has named 2012 Customer Service Champions, based on customer feedback attesting to their service excellence, are Publix Pharmacy, Wegmans and Wegmans Pharmacy. Brands that receive the designation are in the top 5 percent of more than 800 evaluated brands, according to their performance in five key areas identified as the J.D. Power 5 Ps: People, Presentation, Price, Process and Product.

    Since the recession began, the importance of people as a driver of service excellence has increased considerably -- even above the importance of price, noted a J.D. Power cross-industry special report, Beyond Satisfaction: J.D. Power 2012 Customer Service Champions —Brands That Deliver Service Excellence to Maximize Business Results.

    During the recession, many businesses cut costs and turned to automation technologies to address customer needs, which had the result of increasing the importance of people in the service experience.

    “Consumer expectations have heightened since the onset of the recession,” explained Gina Pingitore, chief research officer at Westlake Village, Calif.-based J.D. Power. “While value is important, consumers want more than simply the lowest price or a product that is just good enough. They expect a superior product that is delivered in a compelling presentation, through fast and easy-to-understand processes that are supported by responsive and concerned people. In addition, the price must be perceived as fair and competitive.”

    Brands that provide exceptional customer service tend to consistently employ certain key practices such as hiring the right people and empowering them with the best processes, as well as the ability and authority to make judgment calls to resolve issues on behalf of their customers; understanding customer differences to offer the right products through the right channels in ways that truly resonate with them; and being consistent in branding and delivery of the service experience, particularly across various channels and customer touchpoints.

    The report is based on customer feedback, opinions and perceptions of more than 800 companies in more than 20 industries, gathered from J.D. Power studies conducted in the United States between 2000 and 2011. The Customer Service Champion designation is based on data from U.S. syndicated studies conducted in 2011.
     

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