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Big Box Stores Offer More Smiles to U.S. Customers

Mass merchandising companies earn highest marks for friendly greetings in mystery shopping survey.

Rocklin, CA, July 13, 2006 --( For the second year in a row, employees at mass merchandising – or “big box” – stores are the leaders in United States retail when it comes to offering service with a smile.

A survey compiled by the International Mystery Shopping Alliance and National Shopping Service credits American retail workers with offering a smile to customers 88 percent of the time overall. Employees of mass merchandising stores, such as Wal-Mart, Kmart or Target, led the way in 2005 at 98 percent.

“Retailers are focusing on the essence of good customer service as a way to gain and keep a customer, as well as a competitive advantage,” Tony Yorba, Executive Vice President of National Shopping Service, said. “A smile inspires positive attitudes and a willingness, even a happiness, to patronize.

“Consistently offering a welcoming smile is an age-old proven business technique,” Yorba continued. “But in this day and age, there are so many choices available to customers. So to operationalize the right impression, and the right customer experience, is key to customer retention – and leadership – in any industry.”

Clothing and specialty store employees moved up in the standings, placing second on the 2005 smile survey at 96 percent – a slight increase from their third-place finish in 2004. Jewelry and accessories was next at 93 percent, moving from fourth place to third. Cosmetics finished fourth at 91 percent.

Grocery/supermarket workers ranked lowest on the list of 10 American industries surveyed by IMSA with 85 percent. In the 2004 survey, grocery/supermarket placed sixth (90 percent) out of six industries surveyed.

Automotive employees placed ninth (85 percent) and bookstore workers ranked eighth (86 percent) in 2005. Convenience store employees experienced the biggest survey drop, falling from No. 2 (96 percent) in 2004 to No. 7 (89 percent) in 2005.

The 2005 survey utilized input from 105,654 mystery shops in the U.S.

About National Shopping Service:

Founded in 1972, National Shopping Service offers businesses a unique combination of mystery shopping resources and measurement solutions focused on brand alignment and customer retention. Using state-of-the-art data collection methods, Web-based technologies and proprietary processes, National Shopping Service provides managers with actionable information necessary to understand and affect customer loyalty while improving overall business performance.

For more information, visit

Contact: Daniel Dullum
(916) 577-1010

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National Shopping Service
Daniel Dullum

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