January 18, 2012, 11:52 AM

Amazon is tops in customer service, an NRF survey finds

Unique mobile apps and free shipping set apart leaders in retail customer service.

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It’s not just low prices that win over customers for Amazon.com Inc.; it’s also customer service, according to survey results released this week at the annual convention of the National Retail Federation, a retail industry trade group.

Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, ranked No. 1 in the survey of 9,374 shoppers who were asked to name the web-only retailers,  chains and catalogers that offer the best customer service. Web-only retailers took four of the top 10 spots.

The “Customers’ Choice” survey was conducted in September by market research firm BIGresearch on behalf of the National Retail Federation and financial services provider American Express Co.

“Today’s consumer has high expectations when it comes to their shopping experience, whether in-store or online,” said Kathy Mance, executive director of the NRF Foundation, the NRF’s research unit, in announcing the survey results at the convention yesterday. “The top retailers on this list found effective ways to win over shoppers not only with low prices, but also stellar customer service and value-added features such as unique mobile applications, free shipping and unforgettable in-store experiences.”

For Amazon, its first-place ranking marked an improvement from a survey conducted a year earlier, when Amazon subsidiary Zappos.com ranked first.

The survey asked respondents to answer the question: “Thinking of all the different retail formats (store, catalog, Internet, or home shopping), which retailer delivers the best customer service?”

Following is the top 10 list announced this week, with each retailer’s ranking in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide:

● 1 – Amazon.com, 1

● 2 – L.L. Bean Inc., 129

● 3 – Zappos.com (Amazon.com Inc., 1)

● 4 – Overstock.com Inc., 27

● 5 – QVC (Liberty Interactive Corp., 8)

● 6 – Kohl’s Corp., 31

● 7 – Lands’ End (Sears Holdings Corp., 7)

● 8 – J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 20

● 9 – Newegg Inc., 12

● 10 – Nordstrom Inc., 34

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