Brands That Maintained Commercial Cadence With Their Customers Built Customer Loyalty: KPMG Report


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July 20, 2020

The 2020 KPMG U.S. Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) report, which identifies the top performing brands and industries in terms of customer experience based on a survey, found that brands that were able to continue to transact with their customers in the COVID-19 environment performed better than those that were unable to. Brands that used technology, including AI, to transfer the in-store experience online reaped the rewards of customer loyalty.

“Leaders in our 2020 index are purpose-led companies with deep connective customer relationships, offering online experiences that are immersive, emotionally connective and safe,” said Julio Hernandez, U.S. Customer Advisory Practice lead at KPMG LLP. “With the move to online accelerating due to COVID-19, the nature of the relationship between brands and their customers has changed, bringing the need for commercial cadence to the forefront. Our analysis also shows a move to the age of ‘buying into’ from ‘buying from,’ as customers are seeking companies that make a difference environmentally and socially.”

The report utilizes six pillars of experience that explain how companies navigated the new environment and how they performed in terms of customer experience (CE). High performing CE leaders scored high across the six pillars:

  • Integrity, acting ethically and demonstrably in the customers’ best interests
  • Resolution, focusing on proactively addressing customer problems
  • Accurately setting customer Expectations
  • Reducing the Time and Effortcustomers need to expend by enabling frictionless digital and, where possible, physical interactions
  • Delivering a Personalized experience with 
  • Empathyand compassion.

For more information on the 2020 KPMG U.S. Customer Experience Excellence report, please click here.

The 2020 Top 10 U.S. Brands based on the survey:
The two pillars on which the top 10 U.S. brands averagely outperformed the market during 2020 were Integrity and Empathy. These top performers have an average score of 8.5 out of 10, similar to last year, although there was less brand interaction due to COVID-19.

USAA moves to first place this year, compared to fourth place last year. H-E-B and Chick-fil-A remain in second and third places respectably. Newcomers to the 2020 U.S. top 10 list include In-N-Out Burger, Publix, Wegmans and Charles Schwab. Below are the 2020 top 10 U.S. brands:

  1. USAA
  2. H-E-B
  3. Chick-fil-A
  4. Navy Federal Credit Union
  5. Edward Jones
  6. In-N-Out Burger
  7. Costco Wholesale
  8. Publix
  9. Wegmans
  10. Charles Schwab

Top Ten Industry Performers in the U.S. based on the survey:
This year, Grocery Retail remains in the top industry position with an average score increasing to 8.04 out of 10 in 2020, compared to 7.96 in 2019. Restaurant & Fast Food move to second place in 2020 from third place last year with a score of 7.94, compared to 7.84 in 2019. Non-Grocery Retail falls to third place in 2020 from second place in 2019 with a score dropping to 7.79 compared to 7.87 last year. Other scores that dropped this year include Financial Services to 7.78 compared to 7.79 last year, and Entertainment & Leisure to 7.56 from 7.76 last year. The scores for Travel & Hotels, Logistics, Utilities, Telecoms, and Public Sector increased this year to 7.65, 7.57, 7.33, 7.25 and 6.32 respectively. Below are the 2020 U.S. top 10 industries:

  1. Grocery Retail
  2. Restaurant & Fast Food
  3. Non-Grocery Retail 
  4. Financial Services
  5. Travel & Hotels
  6. Logistics 
  7. Entertainment & Leisure
  8. Utilities
  9. Telecoms
  10. Public Sector

Highest U.S. risers in 2020
The brands with the highest increase in their survey rankings in the U.S. this year showed that they were able to maintain their commercial cadence, while scoring high on their six pillar performance, differentiating themselves from the pack on Integrity and Empathy.

  1. Eastern supermarket chain Hannaford was the biggest mover, rising 137 places as it not only placed its customers and employees first, but fused smart in-store technology with online purchasing and rewards to make their customers lives easier. Hannaford looked at the experience from the eyes of the shopper and looked to facilitate the easiest and most engaging path to purchase.
  2. Zappos also made significant progress on the index, rising 68 places as the company used creative marketing and omni-channel experiences to became more deeply embedded in its customers’ lives. For example, to help its customers get into the right running shoes — a common challenge for runners — Zappos offered a 30-day return guarantee no matter how many miles were run in the sneakers.
  3. Sephora also rose 63 places as the company was creative in using sophisticated technology to transfer the in-store experience online and even in some areas enhance it.

The research for this year’s U.S. report was conducted via an online survey. Approximately 11,000 U.S. customers were interviewed and asked to rate their experiences with over 300 U.S. brands across the six pillars of experience. Results reported in the 2020 KPMG U.S. CEE report are based on the data accumulated during the duration of the survey.


KPMG LLP is the independent U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG International’s independent member firms have 219,000 professionals in 147 countries and territories. Learn more at

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