Which Industries Give the Best and Worst Customer Service?

Do you ever wonder which industries rank highest in customer service and which fail?
An annual report done by the Temkin Group, a research and consulting firm in Massachusetts, which surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers last January about their customer experience with 268 national and regional companies, showed that:

  • Supermarkets, fast-food chains and investment firms garnered “best” rating
  • Telecommunication companies, health plan providers, airlines and hotels scored “worst” in customer service delivery

Managing partner Bruce Temkin highlighted that industries that conduct day-to-day basic customer interactions such as restaurants (fast-food chains to be exact) and supermarkets, as well as USAA and Amazon who developed methods for improved customer experience, gained “thumbs up” from the survey respondents.
Those industries who were on the top 10 of this survey got a rating of 69% and above, where USAA tops the chart at 81% (banks) and 79% (insurance carriers) and took another spot under the credit card industry at 74%. Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks from the fast-food chain industry got 76% and 72% respectively. The retailers have 10% difference where Amazon was rated at 79% while Costco got 69%. And finally, grocery chains H.E.B. and Publix both garnered 74% rating, and A credit union receiving 73% in the banking industry.
Fast-food chains and supermarkets have more face-to-face interactions with customers and provide immediate assistance for their concerns so they tend to be keener in improving their customer service. Customers quickly see this change and experience it almost instantly. USAA and Amazon are innovators in their respective fields which customers appreciate because it makes their experience with their products and services more meaningful and enjoyable. We even mentioned here what Amazon did differently which gained them no. 1 spot in the 2014 Customer Service Hall of Fame of 24/7 Wall St.
As per Temkin, TV, Internet and Health plan providers were ranked the lowest in the survey due to difficulty in focusing on customer concerns. This reason eventually diminishes any motivation to improve on their customer service approach. Looking at the bottom five scores, these industries fared at less than 30%, where Comcast sinks at 22% for both TV and internet service. Remember this post about the Comcast customer service call that went viral? That kind of support definitely was a huge factor in Comcast’s poor customer service scores.
But hope is not at all lost for these companies. Take Humana (health plans) and Cox Communications (internet service) for example. Humana was able to increase their rating from 35% last year to 54% this year and Cox Communications moved up from 28% last year to 46% this year. These companies showed significant improvement in their respective industries in a year’s span because they placed a high premium on improving their customers’ experience with their companies.
Ultimately, these brands can still redeem their industries as far as customer service is concerned. Temkin says that being proactive goes a long way. Adapting good practices used by the top industries in customer service can also help sharpen their own approach and eventually create a customer service trademark that is uniquely theirs.

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Adel Zsurzsan
Adel Zsurzsan

Adel Zsurzsan started as a Service Desk Analyst at transcosmos Information System. Currently based in transcosmos Hungary office, she now serves as the company's Business Development Advisor, helping the company grow and explore partnerships and opportunities. She speaks fluent English, Dutch, Romanian, Hungarian, German, French and Spanish.

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