Westlake Village, CA — A pair of studies by well-known consumer research firm J.D. Power and Associates has pinpointed the product and service attributes that are most important in creating satisfaction among kitchen cabinet consumers, as well as among home builders and professional remodelers (see related Editorial).
The inaugural studies, whose results were released in June, represent the first-ever effort by J.D. Power and Associates to formally rank cabinet brands in terms of consumer satisfaction, as well as to determine the criteria used by builders and remodelers in making cabinet purchases.
According to the findings of the J.D. Power and Associates “2007 Cabinet Satisfaction Study,” functionality and the ordering and delivery process are the key drivers of customer satisfaction, even though the look and finish of cabinetry is likely to first attract buyers.
The study – based on responses compiled through April and May from 842 consumers who purchased new cabinetry within the previous 12 months – measured the importance of five factors: operational performance, ordering and delivery, design features, price competitiveness, and warranty.
“While (consumers) may be drawn to the aesthetic features of cabinets as they make their purchasing decisions, it’s important for them to also consider durability and how smoothly the cabinets operate,” said Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction practice at the Westlake Village, CA-based J.D. Power and Associates.
“Customers are looking for ease and convenience in the ordering process, as well as timely and accurate delivery of their cabinet orders, especially since late or incomplete deliveries can delay or add costs to construction or remodeling projects,” Howland observed.
According to J.D. Power and Associates, Armstrong ranked highest in customer satisfaction among the seven brands studied, followed by Quality Cabinets and American Woodmark. Other cabinet brands studied included Kitchen Craft, KraftMaid, Merillat and Mill’s Pride.
“Armstrong’s top ranking in this independent study demonstrates that our promise to manufacture quality products with style and function is directly aligned with consumers’ demands,” said Robert Cohen, president and CEO of Armstrong Cabinet Products. “This is a testimony to the hard work of our 1,350 cabinet employees and their commitment to providing superior customer service.”
The second cabinet satisfaction study involved 1,416 builders and remodelers who ordered and purchased cabinets within the previous 12 months.
The study examined three types of potential problem areas that builders and remodelers may have with cabinet brands: timeliness (products arriving on time), order accuracy and billing.
“The occurrence of problems in these areas negatively impacts overall satisfaction and, ultimately, the bottom line,” researchers said. More than two-thirds (70%) of respondents reported they received their products from the manufacturer on time, as ordered, researchers added.
Overall satisfaction was based on performance in eight factors (in order of importance): warranty and replacement service, delivery, product features, credit/billing, customer service and support, price, product installation and durability, and ordering process.
According to J.D. Power and Associates, Aristokraft Cabinetry ranked highest among surveyed cabinet brands in satisfying home builders and remodelers. Aristokraft was followed in the rankings by Mid Continent Cabinetry and Quality Cabinets, according to J.D. Power and Associates. Other cabinet brands studied included Merillat, KraftMaid and American Woodmark.
“The competitive nature of the cabinet industry means that providing excellent customer service and increasing product differentiation are critical for manufacturers in maintaining and increasing market share,” said Howland. “In particular, providing outstanding warranties and accurate and on-time delivery are key.”
“When cabinet orders do not arrive on time, or with exactly the components ordered, it causes delays in the completion of the construction project,” added Burleigh Morton, senior director of research and analytics at J.D. Power’s sister company, McGraw-Hill Construction. “These delays can be costly for builders and remodelers, so late or inaccurate deliveries by cabinet manufacturers can have a negative impact on customer loyalty.”
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