If you want to keep your existing consumer base happy and attract new clients, your customer service ratings need to remain top notch. The Temkin Group recently conducted a consumer survey intended to reveal the best and the worst customer service departments in the country, and it succeeded in stone-cold style. Some customer service goofs were pretty predictable: many of the nation’s cable companies, for example, did particularly badly. Other sectors, however, did surprisingly well.
The 2013 Temkin Customer Service Ratings (TCSR) list, which was released in August, contained the boiled-down results of a 10,000-strong survey conducted in January. Consumers were polled about the customer service they’d received over the pervious sixty days at 235 companies in nineteen different industries across the United States. The Temkin Group released another report at the beginning of August, known as the 2013 Temkin Web Experience ratings””and many companies were part of both surveys.
In recent years, America’s cable companies have found themselves under the consumer-wrath spotlight on quite a few occasions. Murky fees, unclear introductory offers, sudden””and often outrageous””price increases, and frequent service outages have irked customers on a frequent basis. Unsurprisingly, top of the Temkin Group’s list of customer service “baddies” was Charter Communications.
Charter customers gave the company’s TV service a dismal satisfaction rating of just 22 percent, putting it at number 235 on the list. Charter’s Internet service received a 31 percent approval rating””placing it at spot number 226.
Unfortunately, Charter, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, now has to deal with a rather embarrassing PR situation. It won’t be alone, though: several other communications providers, including Verizon, Qwest, Comcast, and Time Warner also found themselves sitting at the bottom of the customer service barrel. With the era of app-fueled television fast approaching, it seems cable companies need to improve customer service if they want to maintain their businesses.
Interestingly, Temkin produced some unexpected winners this year. The recent consumer backlash against major banks led to doom-filled customer-service predictions for the banking industry in general. However, many banks seem to have rebounded surprisingly well from the mortgage crisis and subsequent bad press. In fact, top of the “goodies” list was USAA“”both as an insurance carrier, where it scored a 76 percent positive customer service rating, and as a bank, where it brought home a 75 percent approval rating.
US Bank jumped from 126th overall in 2012 to twenty-sixth overall in 2013. The company also did well in Temkin’s Web Experience report, where it ranked fifth out of the 211 companies surveyed. On the other hand, Wells Fargo still needs to improve customer service policy: the company sat at spot ninety-six on the 2012 customer service ratings list and fell to 166th in 2013.
Overall, the changing figures in the banking sector certainly indicate a reshuffle””in some quarters, at least. They also show American consumers’ willingness to forgive companies for poor customer service practices””if they actually improve. Conversely, customer service ratings in the communications industry were generally poor, continuing the trend from 2012. If you compare Charter’s scores to its recent business history, the correlation is clear: when customer service ratings are poor, corporations suffer.
About the Author
Nancy Anderson is the communities and article Editor for Beyond.com.Â Nancy has 10 years’ experience in the online job search business with Beyond.Â Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites.Â Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on https://twitter.com/BeyondJobs.