While the ordering and delivery process has consistently been a leading driver of customer satisfaction with the overall cabinet experience, operational performance has increased in importance in 2013 to become equally impactful in satisfying customers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Kitchen Cabinet Satisfaction Study, released recently.
The study, now in its sixth year, measures customer satisfaction with kitchen cabinets by measuring five factors: ordering and delivery (including ease of ordering, condition of products at delivery and timeliness of delivery); price; design features (such as the variety of cabinet colors/finishes and range of sizes and shapes available); operational performance (including smoothness of drawer slides and sturdiness of cabinet joinery); and warranty.
Operational performance has increased in importance by 5 percentage points from 2012, becoming equally important to satisfaction among cabinet customers as the ordering and delivery factor.
The study also finds that the manufacturer-distributor/retailer relationship is critical to providing an outstanding experience to cabinet purchasers.
"Manufacturers must rely on distributors and contractors for the ordering and delivery process—and in many cases the installation process as well—but must provide the necessary level of support and training so that everyone involved is able to properly set customer expectations and deliver on them throughout the process," said Christina Cooley, director of the home improvement practice at J.D. Power and Associates.
Thomasville ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among cabinet brands for the first time in the study, with a score of 800 on a 1,000-point scale. Thomasville, which has the largest year-over-year improvement among the brands included in the study, performs particularly well in four of the five factors: design features; ordering and delivery; operational performance; and warranty. Following Thomasville in the rankings are KraftMaid (772) and IKEA and Merillat in a tie (761 each).
Overall customer satisfaction among all brands averages 756, unchanged from 2012.
Cabinet customers in 2013 are less likely to commit to a specific brand for future purchases and recommendations than in 2012, with 17% of customers saying they "definitely will" repurchase their brand this year, compared with 27% in 2012. In addition, 25% of customers in 2013 say they "definitely will" recommend their brand, compared with 34% in 2012. The most influential sources used by customers while shopping for cabinets are the distributor's in-store display (24%) and recommendations from professionals (16%).
For consumers who are shopping for kitchen cabinets, J.D. Power and Associates offers the following tips:
- Given the sizeable investment, customers should ask the necessary questions to understand the entire process, from ordering to installation to the warranty repair process.
- Look for a salesperson who will take the time to explain not only all the processes listed above, but also all the features and benefits of the cabinets so you truly recognize the value of the investment you are making.
- Make sure the installer is qualified to work with your specific brand of cabinets, even if it means paying more money. Otherwise, you may ultimately be less satisfied and pay more in the long run if you cut corners during this step of the process.
To learn more about likely Kitchen Remodelers, check out the Audience Interests & Intent report available on the Research Store at ad-ology.com.[Source: "2013 U.S. Kitchen Cabinet Satisfaction Study." J.D. Power and Associates. 9 Apr. 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.]