NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Retailers have been increasingly focused on price, especially during the holiday season. But customers are not only out for a bargain.

Customer service is, of course, just as important (if not, more so) than barrel-bin prices.

The National Retail Federation and American Express surveyed 9,200 who picked their top retailers for customer service. The results were released on Tuesday during NRF's 100th Annual Convention and Expo being held in New York City this week.

"In a time when many retailers are competing on price, customer service becomes an outstanding way to stand out in the eyes of the consumer," NRF Executive Director Kathy Mance, said in a statement. "These retailers have done a great job of distinguishing themselves from their competition."

And customer service doesn't just have to mean knowledgeable and helpful sales associates. It's worth noting that half of the retailers on the top 10 list don't even have physical stores, with No. 1 and No. 2 being solely e-commerce retailers.

Here's a look at the top 10 retailers shoppers awarded the highest scores for customer service.


10. Newegg

Online electronics retailer Newegg, which first appeared on NRF's list in 2010, jumped five spots from its place last year to make this year's top 10.

The company has been credited for stealing market share from brick-and-mortar rival Best Buy ( BBY), which struggling during the holiday season as demand for big-ticket items, like flat-panel televisions, was weak.


9. Nordstrom

Nordstrom ( JWN) has proved that the luxury shopper is leading the consumer recovery. It's no surprise that the high-end department store continues to gain praise for its customer service, moving up one spot in NRF's survey from last year.

In December, Nordstrom was one of the few standouts in the sector, reporting an 8.4% jump in same-store sales. Analysts continue to cite the company's personalized customer service as one of the predominant reasons for its success in 2010.

8 . QVC

QVC, which is a subsidiary of Liberty Media ( LINTA), placed eighth in the survey, dropping three places from 2010.

On Cyber Monday, the home shopping channel saw the highest traffic to its Web site, QVC.com, in its 14-year history, with more than 1 million unique visitors; Black Friday generated over $42 million in sales for the multimedia retailer.

Overall, its e-commerce site generally accounts for a third of all orders. The company generates about $4.9 billion in sales.

In October, QVC rolled out its application for Apple's ( AAPL) iPad.

QVC has evolved from selling generic household products to teaming up with fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi last year for an exclusive apparel collection. It also partnered with Liz Claiborne and reality stars the Kardashians, and had a presence during New York's Fashion Week.


7. Kohl's

Kohl's ( KSS) jumped three spots to No. 7 in customer satisfaction, as the value-priced department store was one of the few retailers to continue to place emphasis on serving shoppers amid the recession.

After reporting that December same-store sales grew 3.9%, Kohl's upped the low-end of its outlook for the fourth quarter. The company now expects to earn between $1.62 and $1.66 a share, from a prior forecast of $1.58 to $1.66 a share.


6. J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney ( JCP) moved up three spots to No. 6 in 2011, making it the third time in a row the department store has cracked the top 10.

The company attributes its success to its CustomerFIRST initiative, which was launched in 2008 as a customer service training program for associates. Launched in 2008, CustomerFIRST is a comprehensive customer service training program

"One of the most important parts of customer service is providing shoppers with an experience they'll want to tell friends and family about -- something JCPenney certainly has a strong track record in," NRF's Mance said.

5. Lands' End

Lands' End, which is owned by Sears ( SHLD), appears on NRF's list of top retailers for customer service for the fifth consecutive year, moving up to No. 5 from No. 8 in 2010.

"What is best for our customer is best for all of us. Everyone at Lands' End understands that concept, and it is an integral part of our brand DNA. This award is a testament to our continuing dedication to providing outstanding customer service at all levels," Nick Coe, president of the company, said in a statement.

Lands' End has wooed shoppers with its customer service by guaranteeing returns for any items at any time, for a complete refund or exchange.

"Customer service is much more than simply having friendly sales staff," NRF's Mance said "It's both a culture and a way of doing business that sets the company apart from all others, and this years' winners do just that. We commend Lands' End employees and their leadership for this amazing accomplishment."


4. Overstock.com

Overstock.com ( OSTK) fell two spots to No. 4 in this year's customer service survey. This marks its fifth consecutive year appearing on the list.

"We want our customers to know we listen," Stormy Simon, senior vice president of marketing and customer care, said in a statement. "We thank them for their loyalty to Overstock.com. We put their needs first by implementing initiatives that make for a better shopping experience, such as our new Window Shopper feature that helps keep online shopping organized, and our increasing social media tools, which engage social shoppers."

The online retailer has also been cited as one of the the best in regard to employee satisfaction.


3. LL Bean

LL Bean lost its coveted spot as the top retailer for customer service, moving down in 2011 to No. 3.

The privately-held outdoor clothing retailer, said in December that it broke several records during the holiday season, including the biggest overall sales day in its history on Dec. 19 and the biggest day for online traffic on Dec. 13.

LL Bean shoppers have been less focused on price and more on quality, looking for items that are guaranteed to keep them warm and dry. The company saw particular strength in items made of flannel.


2. Amazon

Amazon ( AMZN) jumped two places to No. 2, as the e-commerce giant has succeeded by offering some of the lowest prices and largest assortment in retail, and by improving the ease of its shopping experience.

Earlier in the month, Morgan Stanley analyst Scott Devitt predicted that Amazon is on track to hit $100 billion in annual revenue, and could surpass retail behemoth Wal-Mart ( WMT).

Amazon's Kindle e-reader became the company's best-selling item ever during the holiday season, and since launching in 2007 has put pressure on traditional book sellers like Barnes & Noble ( BKS) and Borders ( BGP).


1. Zappos.com

Online footwear retailer, Zappos, which was purchased by Amazon in 2009, tops the list as shoppers' favorite destination for customer service, moving up two slots from No. 3 in 2010.

Since Amazon acquired the company for $1.2 billion, Zappos has helped to buoy earnings. Amazon, to its credit, has allowed Zappos to continue to run as it had when it was an independent operator.

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jeanine Poggi.

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