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Apple fans can be fanatic – which is why the tech company and its retail stores tend to rank high in customer satisfaction surveys. But apparently they’re not quite as fanatic as one supermarket chain’s shoppers.

A new survey shows that Publix beats out the other big grocery chains and even most other retailers, like Apple Stores, in shopper satisfaction.

Could shuffling off to the grocery store to buy toilet paper and bread, really be more satisfying than browsing for the latest tech gadget in a sleek Apple Store?

The report, from customer experience analytics company ForeSee, ranks the top 100 American retailers, based on customer service surveys conducted between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year. Overall, with a score of 89 on a 100-point sale, Publix and Apple tie for third place in customer satisfaction, behind only Amazon and L.L.Bean’s score of 90. But Publix edges out Apple in the “in-store satisfaction” subcategory, with 86 to Apple’s 83.

Publix also fares well against other grocery stores, beating out Kroger (given an 83 in overall customer satisfaction), Whole Foods (83) and Safeway (78), which ForeSee says “appears to be struggling with its store experience, recording the lowest mark” in that subcategory, with 75. Other notable competitors that sell groceries include Costco (86), Target (82) and second-from-last on the overall list of 100, Walmart (77).

The survey bears out what many others have said before. Last year, two separate studies on customer service ranked Publix tops. While some critics may scoff that they’re paying for the privilege of good customer service in the form of Publix’s perceived higher prices, one of last year’s studies noted that “even in a strapped economy, focusing primarily on discounting is not sufficient to create high levels of customer satisfaction.”

In other words, look no further than Walmart’s position on ForeSee’s list to see that price isn’t everything.

Investing in a pleasant shopping experience is a wise investment for retailers, ForeSee says. “The results show that a satisfied shopper is far more likely to purchase, remain loyal and engage in positive word-of-mouth recommendations than a dissatisfied shopper,” the report reads. And “one of the best ways to increase satisfaction is to improve the customer’s experience.”

So if your preferred grocery store isn’t one of the nation’s biggest retailers, and therefore not included in the survey, it could still learn a little something from what the surveyors recommend. Your store just might be able to make a quick shopping trip for toilet paper and bread a more pleasant experience – and certainly one that costs a lot less than anything you can get at an Apple Store.

One Comment

  1. LL Bean deserves their 90 score. Their stuff is top quality, their customer service and guarantee are the best. If you live close enough to visit the store it’s also a great place to buy a canoe at 2am.

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