Major hardware co-op earns a customer experience ranking
Supermarkets and fast-casual restaurant brands took the top positions in an annual ranking of customer experience. Ace Hardware cracked the top 10.
Publix, Chick-fil-A, and H-E-B earned top three positions in Temkin Group’s 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, a cross-industry benchmark of customer experience.
Publix had a score of 84%, closely followed by Chick-fil-A and H-E-B, which both scored 83% in the seventh annual rating.
The other restaurant and retail brands that scored high and made the top 10 were Hardees, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Hannaford, which all scored 82%; Subway, QVC, BJs Wholesale Club, Ace Hardware, Food Lion and Trader Joe’s, which all scored 81%.
To generate the ratings, Temkin asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to rate their recent interactions with 331 companies across 20 industries and then evaluated their experiences across three dimensions: success, effort, and emotion.
Hardware chain adds retail management platform
Hefner Ace Hardware knows the only way to expand its breadth is to have data integrity and inventory accuracy.
This was not an easy task for the family-owned, independent operator. When the retailer become an official Ace Hardware dealer in 2015, the retailer tripled its inventory, “and now we maintain 30,000 SKUs,” said Jason Hefner, owner, Hefner Ace Hardware. “Because of that jump in our inventory levels, we needed a system that was better equipped for inventory management and analysis.”
Becoming an Ace Hardware dealer also revealed other deficiencies. The company lacked overall systems support, as well as Ace-specific capabilities, security, and multi-store functionality — all pre-requisites if Hefner wanted to expand his business. These factors pushed him to adopt the Eagle N Series retail business management platform from Epicor, a solution designed to improve inventory management and scale the business.
“Our operations are better protected with an actual server; the Ace catalog and respective data is seamlessly integrated into the software, allowing quick and easy access; and we get quality support when we need it,” Hefner said. “And when we are ready to move forward with a new location, the software will grow with us.”
With better insight into inventory, the retailer expects to minimize carrying costs and maximize profitability, “while gaining deep insight into our business that will help us grow,” he added.
From member to regional manager
As a California-based retailer, Greg Fuller has been a respected presence at Do it Best Corp. markets for years. He’s now been hired by the co-op as regional sales and business development manager.
With 40 years of hardware industry experience, Fuller will lead a team of territory managers covering the western United States.
Fuller spent more than 35 years at Do it Best member All American Home Center in Downey, California. He joined All American as a box boy in high school in the mid-1970s, working his way up through the company until becoming CEO in 1992, a position he held for nearly 20 years.
“I am incredibly excited to join this outstanding regional team and enhance the already great service we’re providing our members,” Fuller said. “From my own experience, I know this region offers a strong base of existing members looking to grow – as well as other outstanding retailers who can benefit from the programs, products and excellent service only Do it Best Corp. can provide them. I’m eager to support our team as we continue to build on our success by helping our region’s members grow and achieve their dreams.”
In 2009 and on behalf of All American Home Center, Fuller accepted a Golden Hammer award for excellence in retailing from Home Channel News, the forerunner of HBSDealer.
In his new role, Fuller and his team will focus on helping existing Do it Best Corp. member-owners grow location sales and increase profitability, as well as recruiting potential new members to the co-op by emphasizing its industry-leading programs and services.
“Greg is extremely passionate about partnering with our members and other independent entrepreneurs to grow their business,” said Rob Schmiedel, Do it Best Corp. National Sales and Business Development Manager. “His extensive industry experience – backed by his incredible enthusiasm to help our members grow and invaluable knowledge of the region – makes him the ideal fit for this role.”