Amazon.com, Kohl’s, Costco, Lowe’s, and Sam’s Club took the top five spots in the Temkin Group’s “2011 Experience Ratings,” which evaluated customer service at 143 companies across 12 industries.
Retailers deliver the best experience to customers, while TV service providers and health plans deliver the worst, according to the report. But the news is hardly a shot in the arm for anyone.
Bruce Temkin, author of the report, observes that “there are a handful of good experiences,” as only 24 of the 143 companies procured an “excellent” or “good” rating. Almost half of all the companies (48 percent) received “poor” or “very poor” ratings.
Non-retailer companies in the top 20 included the Marriot, Hyatt, and Courtyard by Marriot hotel chains. Regions Bank also placed in the top 20, as did USAA.
USAA led the way in two industries, coming in first place for both credit cards and insurance. Anthem was listed in last place (143rd), one of seven health plans in the bottom 13 spots. Comcast and Charter Communications appear twice in the bottom six spots with poor scores in the Internet and TV service provider categories.
In crafting its evaluations, the Tempkin Group asked 6,000 U.S. consumers to rate their interactions with companies within the past 60 days on functional, accessible, and emotional dimensions. The Temkin Group then further scrutinized the results for companies that received more than 100 responses. The final ratings for each dimension reflect the percentage of consumers who gave good scores to a company subtracted by those who gave a poor score.
Retailers “shined” across all functional, accessible, and emotional dimensions. Banks finished strong in the functional component, while hotels received high scores in accessible and emotional dimensions. TV service providers displayed weak scores in all three dimensions.
Costco and Amazon.com offer the top functional experience, with nine companies having an “excellent” rating. Kohl’s and Costco provided the most accessible experiences, leading 10 companies that achieved “excellent” ratings in that dimension. Anthem and Charter Communications ranked at the bottom of the list, joining eight other TV and Internet service providers with “very poor” ratings.
Thirty-two of the companies involved, including Radio Shack and Motel 6, scored just five points below their industry averages. Twenty-eight organizations were at least five points ahead of their peers, with four companies displaying a “double-digit lead” over other companies in their industry: TriCare, USAA (for both insurance and credit cards), and Regions.
Amazon.com, Marriot, and Kohl’s ranked as the best for emotional experiences. It should be noted that no company received an “excellent” for the emotional dimension, but Amazon.com, Kohl’s, and BJ’s Wholesale Club topped the list with “good” ratings. Anthem, Comcast, and 14 other companies fell below the 40 percent mark.
In commenting on the ratings, Temkin describes customer service as “a work-in-progress.”
“Companies periodically meet customers' needs, but they almost never make an emotional connection with customers,” he observed.
As for the better scores among retailers, he said those types of companies “have to fight for every sale from every customer so they are more attuned at uncovering and serving customer needs than other industries. This forces more people throughout the company to regularly think about different elements of customer experience.
“Within some industries, like health plans and TV service providers, you find an epidemic of bad customer experience,” he continues. “By benchmarking against each other, they fool themselves into thinking that they aren't really that bad, but customers know better.”