Grocery Glory

Texas’ favorite grocery chain claims title as best U.S. shopping experience

Texas’ favorite grocer claims title as best U.S. shopping experience

H-E-B Montrose Market, grocery store, January 2013
H-E-B ranks No. 2 — out of 300 — for customer experience. Photo courtesy of H-E-B

Texas shoppers continue to show their love for H-E-B: Research firm Temkin Group released its annual ratings of customers’ experiences with nearly 300 companies in the United States, and San Antonio-based H-E-B, which also owns Central Market, grabs the No. 2 spot overall.

H-E-B earns a score of 79 out of 100. Only Florida-based grocery chain Publix ranks higher, with a score of 81. Five of the top 10 are supermarkets; other top-ranked companies include retailers such as True Value and Amazon and fast-food chain Chick-fil-A. 

Supermarkets have been the highest-scoring industry since their inclusion in the ratings in 2012, and this year was no different. Publix and H-E-B led the pack in this strong customer experience category,” says Bruce Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group.

For this survey, 10,000 U.S. consumers were asked to evaluate 294 companies in 20 industries based on three factors:

  • Success — Can you do what you want to do?
  • Effort — How easy is it to work with the company?
  • Emotion — How do you feel about your interactions with the company?

These ratings come on the heels of another recent accolade for H-E-B. In February, the American Customer Satisfaction Index said H-E-B tied with Publix for third place among grocery chains, with a score of 82. Wegmans and Trader Joe’s held the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively.

“When consumers put a premium on service and quality, smaller companies often achieve higher customer satisfaction scores, and it’s the smaller, independent chains that continue to set the bar for supermarkets,” says David VanAmburg, managing director of the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Retail consultant Neil Stern may have nailed what propels H-E-B’s popularity with consumers. In March 2015, Stern wrote that H-E-B fosters a culture of “restless dissatisfaction,” constantly striving to figure out what can be improved in its stores.

“H-E-B is one of the more consistently inspiring retailers in the world,” Stern wrote. “They are never content and constantly innovating, whether it be with a format ... or with experimentation within their footprint.”