NEW YORK – Newsweek has released its inaugural list of America’s Best Customer Service brands. Included in the list are the top brands for convenience stores and gas stations.
“Analysts predict that by 2020, one-fifth of the country’s multitrillion-dollar retail business will have moved to the web, slashing the number of workers needed—and those online jobs are increasingly vulnerable too,” said Nancy Cooper, global editor-in-chief for Newsweek. “As we examined the larger, impersonal forces that are transforming retail, it seemed like a good time to recognize a more personal factor in business success: the ways in which many companies nurture their relationships with consumers.”
The magazine partnered with market research firm Statista to collect and analyze data across 141 retail categories, compiling the rankings for the best customer-service companies. Each brand was given a customer-service score, which ranged from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest. The categories included brick-and-mortar retailers, online retailers and various services-oriented businesses.
Here are the top c-store and gas station brands for customer service, according to Newsweek, as well as some examples of recent customer-service initiatives …
Customer service score: 7.91
ExxonMobil Corp. finished in sixth place among c-stores and gas stations in Newsweek’s customer-service rankings. The Irving, Texas-based company is one of the largest refiners and marketers of petroleum products and chemical in the world, serving Exxon- and Mobil-branded fuels to more than 11,100 gas stations and c-stores in the United States.
In November 2018, the company honed its customer service by partnering with Boston-based GasBuddy for its TANKSGiving gasoline giveaway, which allowed loyalty members to enter a sweepstakes to potentially win points worth $20 of fuel.
Customer service score: 7.94
Royal Dutch Shell was No. 5 among c-stores and gas stations in Newsweek’s customer service rankings. The company, based in The Hague, Netherlands, and in Houston in the United States, operates in all 50 states.
Customer service score: 8.14
Speedway LLC, a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corp., Findlay, Ohio, placed fourth among c-stores and gas stations for customer service. The Enon, Ohio-based c-store chain operates more than 2,700 stores, mainly in the Midwest and on the East Coast.
A hallmark of the Speedway brand—and likely a customer-service booster—is its Speedy Rewards loyalty program, which allows customers to earn points via purchases of both fuel and merchandise that can be redeemed for gift cards or free goods. The program also provides special offers on a free beverage or additional bonus points after a certain number of foodservice purchases.
Customer service score: 8.23
Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz Inc. took third place in Newsweek’s c-store and gas station customer-service rankings. The family-owned chain operates more than 500 locations in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and West Virginia, and is known among customers for its made-to-order foodservice program.
In 2017, the company extended its foodservice focus to include a made-to-order Kidz Mealz platform for breakfast, lunch and dinner at each of its locations.
Customer service score: 8.28
Wawa Inc. was the runner up in Newsweek’s c-store and gas station customer service rankings. The Wawa, Pa.-based c-store chain operates nearly 800 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Florida.
In November 2018, the Wawa, Pa.-based chain implemented a catering program for Philadelphia-area residents. As part of the service, Wawa associates deliver and set up the custom spread.
Customer service score: 8.78
Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip Corp. took the top spot among c-store and gas station brands for customer service. The chain, which operates more than 760 stores primarily in the Midwest and South, is known for its fresh food, assortment of beverages and for valuing its employees. The company also made Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2017.
Nor does it lack in providing customer service. QuikTrip offered free vanilla ice cream cones to trick-or-treaters at all of its locations on Halloween last year, and it even tried its hand at delivery via Uber Eats at four Tulsa-based locations in February.