Customers appreciate range depth and customer service initiatives, study finds.
Wickes has been voted the UK's favourite diy retailer, in a poll of more than 6,000 customers carried out by Verdict Research.
Wickes achieved top spot in the Consumer Satisfaction Index 2008 above B&Q, which was first for customer service in 2007, and Wilkinson, which came third.
Neil Saunders, consulting director at Verdict said the traditional big three in diy – B&Q, Homebase, and Focus DIY – have constantly trumpeted themselves as offering the best service so it was a bit of a surprise for Wickes to come out on top. Three years ago, Wickes finished fourth.
However, he said that Wickes has benefited from staying true to its core diy offer, and from a series of customer service initiatives, most notably Ready 2 Help.
"People appreciate the range, and consider Wickes a serious diy player. That's not to say the others aren't, but they have moved to the softer side. Wickes, meanwhile, has never lost its diy credentials."
He continued by saying that Wickes' core customer base appreciates its range depth, and in-store navigation.
"It's quick, and easy to get around; also a large part of its lead comes from its careful editing of ranges with its core customers in mind."
Mr Saunders said that second-placed B&Q is still considered the most authoritative diy player in terms of range, but it has lost ground to Wickes, particularly in the area of convenience.
Wilkinson, in contrast to the majority of diy retailers in the poll, is successful because it sells a narrow range of product lines "very well".
Mr Saunders added: "The driving fact is that its diy proposition is price-led and sells products at very good price points for its audience – the diy fixer, and occasional diyer – alongside its high-convenience format."
The Consumer Satisfaction Index is in its ninth year.
Retailers are measured across a range of elements including range; price; convenience; quality of service; ambience; facilities (such as credit card offers; the provision of disabled access); and layout.
A composite score is then taken from these to determine a winner.