Key to Customer Satisfaction Revealed

July 29, 2013

While customer satisfaction with major appliances is primarily driven by performance and reliability, warranty has become increasingly important during the past few years, according to the J.D. Power 2013 Laundry and Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Studies.

The Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study and the Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Study, now in their eighth and ninth years, respectively, measure customer satisfaction in five categories of major home appliances including clothes washers, clothes dryers,  dishwashers,  cooktops/ranges/ovens, and refrigerators. Overall customer satisfaction is measured in six factors: ease of use; features (such as the usefulness of settings available and capacity); performance and reliability (including how well the appliance functions, noise level and energy efficiency); price; styling and appearance; and warranty.

While product-specific factors continue to drive satisfaction with kitchen appliances, the importance of price and warranty increases in 2013. The length and scope of warranty contributes approximately one-tenth to overall customer satisfaction across all major appliances. For laundry appliances specifically, there has been an increase in the importance of the ease of use factor, which is the second-most-important driver of satisfaction in 2013 and represents approximately one-fifth of the overall customer experience. For kitchen appliances, the price factor has increased in importance by 2 percentage points and comprises about 15 percent of overall customer satisfaction in 2013.

"We continue to see a tightening of scores among the highest-ranked brands, which is very telling in that, although specific brands have specific strengths, in the end there are a number of brands delivering an outstanding customer experience," said Christina Cooley, director in the home improvement industries practice at J.D. Power. "In this extremely competitive environment, brands that have already proven themselves through their products will likely be able to further differentiate through their relationships with their customers, as demonstrated through their warranty, and ultimately providing a consistent and strong value message that incorporates both the product and long-term relationship with customers."

In the Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study, clothes washers by Samsung ranked the highest in customer satisfaction, while LG ranks highest in customer satisfaction with clothes dryers. In the Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Study, Sub-Zero (pictured) has the best ranking for refrigerators, and Kenmore Elite takes top honors in dishwashers, as well as in cooktops/ranges/ovens.

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