To support our goal of an excellent customer experience, we provide our store Associates with training to enhance interactions with customers. We also have a number of in-store programs designed to motivate and reward individual Associates, stores, and districts, as well as programs for Associates to share ideas, including thoughts on how to further improve the customer experience. The overarching goal of all of our programs is to teach, develop, and lead teams to provide excellence in customer service so that our customers have a wonderful shopping experience across all of our retail chains.
Behind the scenes, but equally important, we have dedicated Store Planning and Operations groups within each retail chain that are responsible for understanding the customer base across different geographic locations. This helps us get the right products, to the right stores, at the right time, essentially giving the customers what they want, when they want it. Our business model allows us the flexibility to rebalance inventory levels in key categories, which has helped enhance the treasure hunt experience that our customers love and expect when they shop us.
One way we measure our success is by asking customers to rate their experience using online customer satisfaction surveys. Through these responses we are able to provide feedback to Store Operations management so they may identify opportunities and address issues quickly – and ultimately improve the in-store experience. This input also allows us to develop clear customer experience training for store managers, team leaders, and Associates. The data has also helped drive broad improvements across many of our retail chains. Over the past few years, we have redesigned our dressing rooms; added department-specific fixtures that allow us to transform product categories into small “shops” for flexible periods of time; created multilingual signs in some stores that make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for; and implemented new processes and technologies to speed up checkout times and dressing room lines. We have carefully tested each initiative to ensure it drives excitement about our retail chains and products and continues to deliver the treasure hunt experience that we know our customers love.
We believe our efforts to deliver an excellent customer experience and great service are paying off. In 2018, TJX was ranked #16 on the National Retail Federation's list of top U.S. retailers, and for the third consecutive year, T.J. Maxx was voted Brand of the Year in the off-price retailer category by the Harris Poll, which surveyed more than 77,000 U.S. consumers measuring brand health over time, including familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.