Customer service: who is the worst?

kHARDWARE giant Bunnings was the big winner in a Choice survey rating the customer service of some of Australia's leading retailers.

The consumer advocate group sent four shoppers to 10 of Australia's biggest "bricks and mortar" retailers at a variety of locations in Sydney at different times of the day over a two-week period.

Upon entering the store, each shopper noted whether they were greeted by staff or offered any help.

They then asked for a specific item costing about $100, ranging from kettles to toasters, cordless phones and gardening tools depending on the store.

If the shadow shoppers were not approached or offered help they tried to find a staff member and asked for help.

They then rated that staff member on helpfulness and product knowledge, as well as noting any other efforts to close the sale such as offering a price reduction or added extras.

The shoppers could find no fault with their Bunnings experiences. They found Bunnings staff were easy to find, friendly, helpful and possessed good product knowledge.

They also found returns were "quick and painless".

Big W also fared well, with the shoppers happy with the company's "simple, fast and no-fuss returns process" and helpful staff.

Harvey Norman rated poorly, with the shoppers unable to find a single positive.

"All the Harvey Norman stores our shadow shoppers visited were mostly empty of customers but had plenty of staff on the floor. Despite this, none were greeted when they walked into the store," the report read.

On the contrary, they encountered poor customer engagement, inconsistent product knowledge and some evidence of pushy sales tactics.

Harvey Norman also does not accept "change of mind" returns.

The reports for department stores Myer and David Jones were also less than complimentary, with service inconsistent in both.

The other stores visited were JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith, K-Mart, The Good Guys, all of which received mixed reports.

The full report can be accessed at

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