Southwest Airlines Leads Airline Industry in 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings

We recently released the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings that ranks the customer experience of 268 companies across 19 industries based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers.

Southwest Airlines took the top spot for the fourth year in a row, earning a rating of 71% and placing 83rd out of 268 companies across 19 industries. At the other end of the spectrum, US Airways received the lowest ratings of any airline for the third straight year, landing in 251st place overall with a 52% rating.

Download entire dataset for $395

AirlinesA
Here are some additional findings from the airline industry: Read more of this post

Report: What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience, 2014

1402_WhatHappensAfterGoodBadExperiences_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience, 2014. The report, which includes 19 data charts, examines which companies and industries provide the most bad experiences, what impact those experiences have on spending, and how the negative impacts of bad experiences can be mitigated by good service recovery. The report also examines how consumers share their good and bad experiences with companies as well as with other people. Here’s the executive summary:

To understand the effect of good and bad experiences, we asked 10,000 U.S. consumers about their recent interactions with 268 companies across 19 industries. Results show that Internet services and TV services are the industries most likely to deliver a bad experience to their customers, while grocery chains are the least likely to. At the company level, Scottrade had the smallest percentage of customers reporting a recent bad experience with the company and Time Warner Cable had the highest. More than half of the customers who encountered a bad experience at a fast food chain, credit card issuer, grocery store, or hotel either decreased their spending with the company or stopped altogether. However, our data shows that a good service recovery effort can help mitigate a bad experience. Unfortunately, many firms—especially in the banking, Internet services, and TV services sectors—aren’t very good at service recovery. In addition to the consequences of bad interactions, we also examined which channels customers use to share their good and bad experiences and how these changed across age groups. We then compared these results to survey responses from the past two years. We also uncovered a negative bias inherent in how customers provide feedback. ING Direct, Residence Inn, and Fairfield Inn have the most negative bias in the feedback they receive directly from customers, while Hy-Vee and Hyundai have the most negative bias on Facebook. 

Click link to see full list of industries and companies covered in this report (.pdf).

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

One of the most interesting analyses in the report is the look at how service recovery after a bad experience affects the spending pattern of consumers. Here’s a summary of one of the charts showing just how important it is for a company to recover well after making a mistake:

1402_EconomicsOfServiceRecovery

Here are some other insights from the research:

  • Sixteen percent of consumers who have interacted with TV service and Internet service providers report having a bad experience over the previous six months. Next on the list are wireless carriers, with 12% of their customers reporting a bad experience. At the other end of the spectrum, only 3% of consumers report a bad experience with grocery chains and 4% report having a bad experience with fast food chains.
  • The five companies with the most customers reporting bad experiences are Time Warner Cable (25%), Motel 6 (22%), Coventry Health Care (21%), and Comcast (21%). There were 10 companies with only 1% or less of their customers reporting bad experiences: Scottrade, Chick-fil-A, H.E.B., Whole Foods, ShopRite, ING Direct, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Vanguard, and True Value.
  • More than one-quarter of consumers who have a bad experience stop spending with computer makers, car rental agencies, credit card issuers, hotel chains, and software companies. The impact of bad experiences is less costly for parcel delivery services, wireless carriers, health plans, TV service providers, Internet service providers, and grocery chains, as less than 15% of their customers with bad experience stopped spending.
  • The industries that are the best at responding to a bad experience are investment firms, major appliances, retailers, and car rental agencies. The industries that are the worst at responding to a bad experience are TV service providers, wireless carriers, Internet service providers, parcel delivery services, and health plans.
  • Thirty-two percent of consumers give feedback directly to companies after a very bad experience and 23% give feedback after a very good experience.
  • Overall, 25- to 34-year-olds are the most likely to share feedback about their experiences. After a good experience 57% tell a friend directly, 28% share on Facebook, and 18% put a comment or rating on a review site. After a bad experience, 60% tell a friend directly, 31% share on Facebook, and 20% write a review.

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

The bottom line: Make sure to recover quickly after a bad experience

50 CX Tips: eBook and Infographic

1310_50CXTips_COVERI recently completed a series of 50 customer experience (CX) tips. To make it easier for people to read and download all of the tips, I assembled them into a free eBook: 50 CX Tips: Simple Ideas, Powerful Results.

Each of the 50 CX Tips is aligned with one or more of Temkin Group’s four customer experience core competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness.

The CX Tips include examples from a wide variety of companies including Adobe, Amazon.com, Apple, BCBS of Michigan, Becker and Poliakoff, Big Lots, BMO Financial Group, Bombardier Aerospace, CDW, Charles Schwab, Citrix, Disney, EMC, Fidelity Investments, Hampton Inn, Hilton, IBM, Intersil, Intuit, JetBlue, Microsoft, Oklahoma City Thunder, Oracle, Safelite AutoGlass, Salesforce.com, SanDIsk, SimplexGrinnell, Southwest Airlines, Sovereign Assurance of NZ, Sprint, Starbucks, Stream Global Services, Sam’s Club, USAA, VMware, and ZocDoc.
DownloadButton200wWhile you may have a hard time applying all 50 CX TIps, you should be able to identify several that will work for your organization. I challenge you to select three or more of the CX Tips to implement. Here’s an idea: Have each of your team members pick the five CX Tips that they think would be the most powerful for your organization. Use a team meeting to discuss everyone’s selections and pick the ones you want to implement.

We also created an infographic with the 50 CX tips. Here’s a version with the top 10 CX tips (click on the graphic to get a .pdf of the full infographic).

Top10CXTips_TemkinGroupThe bottom line: A handful of CX Tips can propel your customer experience.

USAA On Top of 2013 Temkin Customer Service Ratings

We just released the third annual Temkin Customer Service Ratings of 235 companies across 19 industries based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers (see full list of firms).

Download entire dataset for $295

Company Results

Here are some company highlights:

2103TCSR_TopBottomFirms2103TCSR_IndustryLeadersLaggards

  • USAA earned the top two spots for its insurance and banking businesses. Other companies at the top of the ratings are credit unionsAce HardwareCharles SchwabDollar TreeChick-fil-ASonic Drive-InHy-VeeCostcoTrader Joe’s, Advantage, Publix, and H.E.B.
  • TV service providers and Internet service providers earned nine out of bottom 10 spots in the ratings.
  • For the second straight year, Charter Communications took the bottom spot. The rest of the firms in the bottom five are Time Warner CableCox CommunicationsOptimum (i/o), and CareFirst.
  • The following companies earned ratings that were 15 or more points above their industry averages: USAA (insurance and banking), Alaska Airlines, credit unions, Advantage, Kaiser Permanente, TriCare, Charles Schwab, and Bright House Networks.
  • Five companies earned ratings that were 15 or more points below their industry averages: Apple Stores, US AirwaysRadioShack, HSBC, and 21st Century.
  • Twenty-three percent of companies earned “strong” or “very strong” ratings, while 37% earned “weak” or “very weak” ratings.

Temkin Group also examined year-over-year results for the 171 companies that were in both the 2012 and 2013 Temkin Customer Service Ratings and found that:

  • Forty-four percent of companies improved their ratings while 47% experienced a decline.
  • Twenty companies showed double-digit increases, led by: Citibank (banking and credit cards), U.S. Bank, Hyundai, Nissan, Old Navy, Charles Schwab, Continental Airlines, and Piggly-Wiggly.
  • Eleven companies showed double-digit decreases, led by: LG, Giant Eagle, Toshiba, Cox Communications, ING Direct, and Budget.

Industry Results

Here are some industry highlights:

2103TCSR_Industries

  • Grocery chains, retailers, and fast food chains earned the highest average Temkin Customer Service Ratings, while TV service providers, Internet service providers, wireless carriers, and health plans earned the lowest ratings.
  • On average, credit card issuers, banks and fast food restaurants improved the most while appliance makers, TV service providers and investment firms declined the most.

Calculating the Temkin Customer Service Ratings

During January 2013, Temkin Group asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to identify the companies that they had interacted with on their websites during the previous 60 days. These consumers were asked the following question:

Thinking back to your most recent customer service interaction with these companies,
how satisfied were you with the experience?

Responses from 1= “very dissatisfied” to 7= “very satisfied”

For all companies with 100 or more consumer responses, we calculated the “net satisfaction” score. The Temkin Customer Service  Ratings are calculated by taking the percentage of consumers that selected either “6” or “7” and subtracting the percentage of consumers that selected either “1,” “2,” or “3.”

Download entire dataset for $295

Temkin Ratings website

To see all of the companies in the Temkin Customer Service Ratings as ell as all of our other Temkin Ratings and sort through the results, visit the Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: TV service providers deliver terrible customer service

Amazon and USAA On Top of 2013 Temkin Web Experience Ratings

We just released the third annual Temkin Web Experience Ratings of 211 companies across 19 industries based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers (see full list of firms).

Download entire dataset for $295

Company Results

Here are some company highlights:

2013TWERCompanyBestWorst

  • For the third straight year, Amazon.com topped the Temkin Web Experience Ratings while USAA took the next two spots for its bank and insurance businesses.
  • Other companies at the top of the ratings are RegionsU.S. BankeBayAdvantage Rent A Carcredit unions, and QVC.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, MSNHealth NetEarthLink, and Cablevision earned the lowest ratings.
  • Only 6% of companies earned “strong” or “very strong” ratings, while 63% earned “weak” or “very weak” ratings.
  • Amazon.com and USAA’s insurance business earned ratings that were 20 points above their industry averages and eight other companies were at least 10 points above their peers: Kaiser Permanente, Advantage Rent A Car, eBay, QVC, USAA (bank), Sonic Drive-In, Charles Schwab, and Fidelity Investments.
  • Health Net and RadioShack earned ratings that were 20 points or more less than their industry averages and six other companies were at least 15 points below their peers: 21st Century, American Family, Days Inn, Taco Bell, and Kmart.

Temkin Group examined year-over-year results for the 154 companies that were in the 2012 and 2013 ratings and found that:

  • Forty-one percent of companies improved, while 53% declined.
  • Over half of the companies that were in the 2012 and 2013 ratings earned lower scores this year.
  • Eight companies showed double-digit increases: Humana, Old Navy, U.S. Bank, Citibank, TriCare, Blue Shield of California, Toyota, and Safeway.
  • Twenty-one companies declined by at least 10 points and six companies dropped by more than 15 points: Southwest Airlines, MSN, United Airlines, ShopRite, Cablevision, and Bright House Networks.

Industry Results

Here are some industry highlights:

2013TWERIndustries

  • Banks earned the highest average Temkin Web Experience Ratings, followed by investment firms, retailers, credit card issuers, and hotel chains.
  • Five industries earned average ratings of “very weak” ratings: Internet service providers, TV service providers, airlines, health plans, and wireless carriers.
  • Seven industries improved between 2012 and 2013., while nine declined. Airlines suffered the most dramatic drop, losing 15 points.

Calculating the Temkin Web Experience Ratings

During January 2013, Temkin Group asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to identify the companies that they had interacted with on their websites during the previous 60 days. These consumers were asked the following question:

Thinking back to your most recent interaction with the websites of these companies,
how satisfied were you with the experience?

Responses from 1= “very dissatisfied” to 7= “very satisfied”

For all companies with 100 or more consumer responses, we calculated the “net satisfaction” score. The Temkin Web Experience Ratings are calculated by taking the percentage of consumers that selected either “6” or “7” and subtracting the percentage of consumers that selected either “1,” “2,” or “3.”

Download entire dataset for $295

Temkin Ratings website

To see all of the companies in the Temkin Trust Ratings as ell as all of our other Temkin Ratings and sort through the results, visit the Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: Web experiences are heading in the wrong direction.

USAA On Top (Again) in 2013 Temkin Trust Ratings

We just released the third annual Temkin Trust Ratings of 246 companies across 19 industries (see full list).

Download entire dataset for $295

Company Results

For the third straight year, USAA‘s insurance business earned the top ranking in the Temkin Trust Ratings. Here are additional highlights:

1306_13TrustTopBottom

  • Two of USAA’s business areas —insurance and banking—topped the list of companies. USAA’s credit card business also ranked sixth.
  • The other companies in the top 10 of the ratings are credit unions, Publix, H.E.B., Amazon.com, Trader Joe’s, Charles Schwab, and Sam’s Club.
  • HSBC earned two of the bottom three spots for its credit card and banking businesses.
  • TV service providers and Internet service providers dominate the bottom of the ratings, collectively taking 10 of the bottom 15 spots. The other companies in the bottom 15 are US Airways, CareFirst, and T-Mobile.

We also examined year-over-year results for 204 companies that were also in the 2012 Temkin Trust Ratings. Here are some highlights of that analysis:

  • Citigroup in credit cards and Hyundai earned the largest jump (21 points) over their 2012 Temkin Trust Ratings. The other largest gainers are Alaska Airlines, Bank of America in credit cards and banking, Continental Airlines, Avis, and EarthLink.
  • Cox Communications in TV service and Fifth Third in banking lost the most ground (17 points) since last year. The other largest decliners are HSBC in banking, PNC in banking, JCPenneyBright House Networks, and eMachines in computers.

Industry Results

Here are the highlights of the 19 industries in the 2013 Temkin Trust Ratings:

1306_13TrustIndustries

  • Grocery chains earn the most trust while TV service providers earn the least trust from their customers.
  • Six companies earned Temkin Trust Ratings that are 20 percentage points or more above their industry average: USAA (banking, credit cards, insurance carriers), credit unions (banking), TriCare (health plans), and Kaiser Permanente (health plans).
  • Four companies earned Temkin Trust Ratings that are 20 percentage points or more below their industry average: HSBC (banking and credit cards), US Airways (airlines), 21st Century (insurance carriers).
  • Led by credit card issuers and rental car agencies, 14 of the 18 industries in the 2012 and 2013 Temkin Trust Ratings improved over last year’s scores. The only four industries with declining ratings are TV service providers, retailers, appliance makers, and insurance carriers.

Calculating the Temkin Trust Ratings

During January 2013, Temkin Group asked consumers to identify companies that they have interacted with during the previous 60 days.  For a random subset of those companies, consumers are asked to rate companies as follows:

To what degree do you TRUST that these companies will take care of your needs?
Responses from 1= “do not trust at all” to 7= “completely trust”

For all companies with 100 or more consumer responses, we calculated the “net trust” score. The Temkin Trust Ratings are calculated by taking the percentage of consumers that selected either “6” or “7” and subtracting the percentage of consumers that selected either “1,” “2,” or “3.”

Download entire dataset for $295

Temkin Ratings website

To see all of the companies in the Temkin Trust Ratings as ell as all of our other Temkin Ratings and sort through the results, visit the Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: Without a customer’s trust, it’s hard to expect her loyalty.

Advantage Rent A Car and USAA Lead in 2013 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings

All companies, even customer experience leaders, make mistakes. But how much goodwill have companies built up for consumers to forgive them after those miscues? To answer this question, Temkin Group surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers about companies with whom they’ve recently interacted. We used this data for the third annual Temkin Forgiveness Ratings of 246 companies across 19 industries.

Download entire dataset for $295

Company Results

Here are the highlights of the 246 companies in the 2013 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings:

  • Advantage earns top spot. With an excellent score of 61%, Advantage earned the highest rating.
  • USAA dominates forgiveness. USAA grabbed the next three spots for its banking, insurance, and credit card businesses.
  • The rest of the top 10. H.E.B., Blackboard, Aldi, Alaska Airlines, credit unions and Publix round out the top 10
  • No industry owns the top. The top 25 companies in the ratings comes form a variety of industries: Four grocery chains, three airlines, three retailers, two banks, two hotel chains, two investment firms, two software firms, one appliance maker, one auto dealer, one credit card issuer, one fast food chain, one health plan, one insurance carrier, and one rental car agency.
  • HSBC dominates the bottom. HSBC earned the bottom two spots in the ratings for its credit card and banking businesses.
  • Many TV service providers are at the bottom. Six of the bottom 12 companies are TV service providers: Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon, Charter Communications, and Optimum (iO)/Cablevision.
  • USAA most outperforms its peers. We compared company ratings with their industry averages and USAA came in the top three spots, 36 points above in banking, 31 points ahead in credit cards, and 28 points ahead in insurance. Three other companies are more than 20 points above their industry averages: Advantage (car rentals), credit unions (banking), and TriCare (health plans).
  • HSBC most underperforms. HSBC fell the farthest below its industry average in two areas, 23 points behind its peers in banking and credit cards. Five other companies had scores that were 15 points and more below their industry: US Airways (airlines), Motel 6 (hotels), McAfee (software), Kia (auto dealers), and Hertz (rental cars).

We also examined year-over-year results for 204 companies that were in both the 2012 and 2013 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings. Here are some highlights of that analysis:

  • Chrysler improves the most. With a jump of 29 percentage points, Chrysler is the most improved company.  Six other companies gained 20 points or more: Continental Airlines, Citigroup, Avis, EarthLink, Ameriprise Financial, and Alaska Airlines.
  • US Cellular declines the most. With a drop of nearly 20 percentage points, US Cellular dropped the most in 2013.  Nine other companies fell by more than 10 points: Bright House Networks, HSBC, Cox Communications, Hertz, PNC, SunTrust Bank, Dollar Rental Car, Hyatt, and TD Ameritrade.

Industry Results

Here are the highlights of the 19 industries in the 2013 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings:

1305_TFR_TopBottomFirms

  • TV service providers are unforgivable. TV service providers, as an industry, earned the lowest Temkin Forgiveness Rating of 12%. It was five points below Internet service providers and seven points below wireless carriers.
  • Grocery chains are the most forgivable.  With an average rating of 39%, grocery chains are the highest scoring industry. Three industries are just four points behind: hotel chains, auto dealers, and rental car agencies.
  • Credit cards make the most improvements. Credit cards made the largest improvement, nine percentage points, over the previous year.  Auto dealers, rental car agencies, and airlines also improved by more than five points.
  • TV service providers head in the wrong direction. Led by TV service providers that dropped three points between 2012 and 2013, three industries earned lower scores in 2012. The other industries are retailers and appliance makers.

Calculating the Temkin Forgiveness Ratings

During January 2013, Temkin Group asked consumers to identify companies that they have interacted with during the previous 60 days.  For a random subset of those companies, consumers are asked to rate companies as follows:

How likely are you to forgive these companies if they deliver a bad experience?
Responses from 1= “extremely unlikely” to 7= “extremely likely”

For all companies with 100 or more consumer responses, we calculated the “net forgiveness” score. The Temkin Forgiveness Ratings are calculated by taking the percentage of consumers that selected either “6” or “7” and subtracting the percentage of consumers that selected either “1,” “2,” or “3.”

Download entire dataset for $295

Temkin Ratings website

To see all of the companies in the Temkin Forgiveness Ratings as ell as all of our other Temkin Ratings and sort through the results, visit the Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: Forgiveness is an asset that you accumulate by consistently meeting customer needs.

Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines Lead Airline Industry in 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings

We recently released the 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings that ranks the customer experience of 246 companies across 19 industries based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers. Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines tied for the top spot in the industry. US Airways and American Airlines, the recently merged companies, ended up as the two lowest rated airlines. As a matter of fact, US Airways is the lowest rated company across any industry. Together, they threaten to become a customer experience mega-monster.

Here are other highlights from the airline industry:

  • The average rating for airlines places it at number 15 out of 19 industries.
  • The average industry rating remains steady at 60% (in 2012, it was 61%, and in 2011, it was 60%).
  • The highest-ranked airlines Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines, both with a rating of 68%, eight points above the industry average. Alaska Airlines increased five points from 2012 while Southwest Airlines dropped five points.
  • The next airlines in the ratings, in order, are: AirTran Airways (65%), JetBlue (64%), and Delta Airlines (63%).
  • Delta Airlines improved five points from the 2012 ratings, tying it for the largest gain in the industry.
  • JetBlue has an unusually emotional profile. The airline’s emotional rating is almost eight percentage points above the industry average, but its functional and accessible ratings are less than three points above average.
  • Southwest Airlines leads in functional and accessible components and Alaska Airlines leads in the emotional rating.
  • US Airways (#246 overall, the lowest rated company) earned a rating of 45%, nine points behind the next lowest scoring American Airlines.
  • US Airways had the largest drop since 2012, seven percentage points, and earned the lowest score for all three subcomponents: functional, accessible, and emotional.
  • Here’s a link to industry results from the 2012 ratings.

Download entire dataset for $395

Airlines1 Airlines2

Temkin Ratings website

Report: 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings

Temkin Ratings website

2013TemkinExperienceRatings_Cover

We published the 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings. The report analyzes feedback from 10,000 U.S. consumers to rate 246 organizations across 19 industries. Congratulations to the top firms in this year’s ratings: Publix, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Chick-fil-A, Amazon.com, and Sam’s Club.

Download report for FREE

You can also download the data for $395.

The Temkin Experience Ratings are based on evaluating three elements of experience:

  1. Functional: How well do experiences meet customers’ needs?
  2. Accessible: How easy is it for customers to do what they want to do?
  3. Emotional: How do customers feel about the experiences?

Here are the top and bottom companies in the ratings:

2013TER_BestWorstHere’s how the industries compare with each other:

(NOTE: We have published posts on the detailed results for all 19 industries)

2013TER_IndustriesHere are the companies that are leaders and laggards across the 19 industries:

figure10

In this year’s ratings, 37% of companies earned “good” or “excellent” scores, while 28% are rated as “poor” or ”very poor.” Companies with at least a “good” rating grew by nine-percentage points since 2012 and by 21-points since 2011. Of the 203 companies that are included in both the 2012 and 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings, 57% firms had at least a modest increase. The companies that made the largest improvement over 2012 are Citibank, TriCare, TD Ameritrade, Office Depot, EarthLink, Hardees, and Regions Bank.

Download report for FREE

Get the Data

Do you want to see all of the data? You can purchase an excel spreadsheet for $395…

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 5.42.22 PM

To view all of our ratings (experience, loyalty, trust, forgiveness, customer service, and web experience), visit the Temkin Ratings website

Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: Customer experience is improving, but there’s still a long way to go

American Airlines Needs More Than a New Paint Job

American Airlines recently announced a brand makeover, releasing its new logo and designs for its planes. According to CEO Tom Horton:

Our new logo and the refreshed exterior of our planes represent more than a change of symbol, but a symbol of change in our path to modernize and innovate

My take: The company spent millions of dollars on this veneer, but has yet to address its bigger brand issue: Customer experience. The airline can make whatever promises that it wants in its visual identity, but the lasting impressions of its brand are formed by the millions of interactions that customers have with American Airlines every day, whether it’s online, on the phone, at the airport, or in the air. Brands are formed not by the promises we make, but by the promises we keep.

To put American’s customer experience into perspective, it was the next to worst airline in the 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings (only slightly ahead of US Airways, the airline that it is planning to merge with) and rated 187th out of 206 organizations in the ratings. Making matters even worse, it was one of the few companies to show a decline from 2011 to 2012. While we won’t be releasing the 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings for a couple of weeks, I can tell you that American Airlines and US Airways have successfully defended their bottom spots in the airline industry.

Where should American Airlines focus its energy, if not a new logo and some fancy paint on the tail of its planes? Employees. One of the Six Laws of Customer Experience is that unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers. Until American finds a way to get employees on-board, then it will continue to deliver terrible experiences to customers. And there’s no amount of marketing and advertising spending that can make up for a bad experience.

As a vision of what might be possible in the long-term future, take a look at what Southwest Airlines does with employees. With that in mind, Horton and the rest of the American Airlines management team should immediately start focusing on what we call the Five Is of Employee Engagement: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, and Incent.

As a frequent flyer, I hope that American Airlines figures this out. An upcoming merger with US Airways will hopefully become a catalyst for making signifiant improvements in employee engagement (and ultimately customer experience). If not, this might just be a case of the bad getting bigger.

The bottom line: You can’t paint over poor customer experience

Employee Engagement Lessons From Southwest Airlines

It’s hard to discuss employee engagement without mentioning Southwest Airlines. Here’s how Southwest’s founder and former CEO Herb Kelleher once described his approach to management:

“If you create an environment where the people truly participate, you don’t need control. They know what needs to be done and they do it. And the more that people will devote themselves to your cause on a voluntary basis, a willing basis, the fewer hierarchies and control mechanisms you need.”

That’s not just an empty observation; it defines how Southwest Airlines has been built. I recently heard a presentation from Southwest and wanted to share some of the more interesting tidbits.

  • 80% of Southwest’s employees are unionized, the largest of any airline.
    My take: That’s interesting, and provides a clear example that companies can engage unionized employees. It really hit home to me when I saw this great note from the pilot’s union to Kelleher when he retired.
  • Each workgroup at Southwest is the highest paid in the industry.
    My take: The company can afford to do this because it takes advantage of what we call the Employee Engagement Virtuous Cycle. It turns out that companies with above average financial results tend to also have more engaged employees.
  • After 9/11, Southwest was the only airline not to lay off people.
    My take: It actually sold off some planes instead. It’s easy to focus on employee engagement when things are going well, but the real demonstration of commitment comes when people are forced to make difficult trade-offs.
  • To help keep the airline viable when gas prices spiked in 1991, employees voluntarily purchased fuel for the company via payroll deductions.
    My take: Employees that are treated as important participants in the business will go out of their way to help the company. Our analysis shows that employees who are inspired by their company’s mission are more likely to go out of their way to help.
  • In May 1972, the company created the 10-minute plane turnaround.
    My take: This innovation was the response to a desperate situation where the company wanted to keep servicing the same number of routes although it had to cut back on the number of its planes. This critical innovation could never have been done by mandate, it took the full participation and involvement of Southwest’s employees.
  • The company describes itself as having a servant’s head, a warrior’s spirit, and a fun LUVing attitude.
    My take: I really like this description. The head is about living the golden rule, the spirit is about doing whatever it takes, and the attitude is a play off of the company’s pervasive use of the term LUV, which is its stock ticker symbol as well. Southwest employees take their work seriously, but not themselves.
  • If it can be done, I’ll do it.
    My take: That’s the positive attitude that Southwest employees are taught to have with customers. It’s a stark contrast to the “can’t do” attitude that shows up with employees at many other companies. That’s why Southwest is the easiest airline to do business with in the 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings. Interestingly, number two on the list is AirTran, the airline acquired by Southwest.
  • We make deposits in the goodwill bank.
    My take: That’s another phrase I LUV. Everyone makes mistakes, but companies that build goodwill are often given a second (and third, fourth, fifth, etc.) chance. Southwest can count on a relatively high degree of goodwill, given it was right behind JetBlue in the 2012 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings.

SouthwestEE2The bottom line: Southwest Airlines shows it employees a lot of LUV

Companies Don’t Earn The Loyalty Their CX Deserves

Our report The ROI of Customer Experience shows that customer experience is highly correlated to loyalty. The research analyzed the relationship between Temkin Loyalty Ratings and Temkin Experience Ratings (TER) for 206 U.S. companies.

After analyzing the connection between these ratings, we found that some companies seem to have higher loyalty levels than they seem to deserve based on their customer experience while others have lower loyalty levels.

Using that dataset, I compared actual loyalty levels with projected loyalty levels. How? By plugging each company’s experience rating into our regression model to identify what their loyalty rating should be (normalized to their industry average) based on its TER and compared that projected rating with its actual loyalty rating. In the chart below you can see the companies with the largest positive and negative variances from the model’s projections.

The companies with loyalty levels the most above the projections are USAA, Highmark, Medicaid, credit unions, and TriCare. The companies that fall the most below the projections are T-Mobile, BMW, Bosch, AT&T, and Alamo.

Let’s examine USAA as an example. Since it has very high experience ratings compared with its industry peers, our model projects that its loyalty ratings should be at the high end of banks, credit card issuers, and insurance carriers. This analysis shows that USAA’s actual loyalty levels are higher than expected, even after factoring in its wonderful customer experience.

So what?!? There’s nothing inherently good or bad with being above or below the projected loyalty level. There’s no reason to expect companies to fall directly on their projected loyalty levels.

What’s interesting about this analysis is not what’s good or bad, but WHY are some companies so far away from the projected levels. This is where I’ll leave the data behind and offer my interpretation about WHY some companies have higher than projected loyalty while others have lower than projected loyalty:

  • Product fit. CX is not the only component of customer value. Companies that have tailored their products and services to better meet customers’needs (like USAA and TriCare) have an even better loyalty level than their CX would suggest. If companies have a poor product offering, then their loyalty may be lower than projected (this may explain Sears and DHL).
  • Product quality. If companies have quality problems with their offerings, then they would have lower loyalty levels than their CX deserve (this may explain AT&T, T-Mobile, and Alamo).
  • Service expectations. Companies that have premium status (BMW cars and Bosch appliances) often elicit higher expectations from customers, so they don’t earn the loyalty that their CX would suggest and have to work harder.
  • Trapped customers. In industries where customers have a hard time switching, a bad experience may not lead to the loyalty decline anticipated by the model; the same type of situation would occur if a company is harder to move away from than it’s competitors (this may explain Medicaid, Medicare, MSN, and EarthLink).
  • Commoditization. In industries that have a lot of pricing comparisons, customers may overly focus on price and not award good customer experience with the level of loyalty that the model projects (this may explain Alamo). It can also push consumers that have poor experience to more quickly leave a company for its competitor (this may explain DHL).
  • Substitutions. In sitations where customers don’t have a lot of clear alternatives, they will be more loyal to a company than the model suggests (this may explain eBay). A company that relies on self-service may be seen as easier to move from than a company that forms more personal connections with customers (this may explain E*TRADE).
  • Emotionality. Sometimes customers develop a strong affinity for a brand that increases loyalty and dampens the negative effect of any poor experiences (this may explain Southwest Airlines and Apple).

These items cover three broad topics: offerings, competitive environment and customer expectations. What do you think causes companies to earn more or less loyalty than their customer experience seems to deserve?

The bottom line: CX is correlated to loyalty, but other things matter as well

Report: Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2012

We just published a Temkin Group report, Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2012. It provides NPS data on 175 U.S. companies across 19 industries. Here’s the executive summary:

USAA took the top two spots for its banking and insurance businesses while HSBC came in at the bottom for banking and credit cards. Our analysis of differences across consumer demographic segments showed that NPS tends to go up with age, doesn’t vary much by income levels, and is often highest with Asians. We also asked consumers what would make them more likely to recommend the companies and found that promoters are more likely to select lower prices and detractors are more likely to select better customer service. While there is some debate about the efficacy of NPS, our analysis shows that promoters are much more likely than detractors to purchase more in the future across all industries. To help you implement a successful NPS program, we’ve included eight tips such as don’t believe in an “ultimate question” and use control charts, not pinpointed goals. The industries included in this report are airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, major appliance makers, parcel delivery services, rental car agencies, retailers, software firms, TV service providers, and wireless carriers.

Download report for $295
(includes the data)

The industries included in this report are airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, major appliance makers, parcel delivery services, rental car agencies, retailers, software firms, TV service providers, and wireless carriers.

The report contains the following components:

  • NPS for 175 companies across 19 industries
  • NPS differences based on age, income, and ethnicity of consumers
  • Improvement areas selected by promoters and detractors by industry
  • Connection between NPS and future purchases by industry
  • Eight tips for implementing a successful NPS program

Figure1Figure4

Download report for $295
(Includes the data)

The bottom line:  Companies need to give customers a reason to recommend them

2012 Temkin Web Experience Ratings

Temkin Group has just released the 2012
We introduced the Temkin Web Experience Ratings last year. The 2012 Web Experience Ratings include 159 companies from 18 industries and is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers.

Congratulations to the top firms in this year’s ratings: Amazon, credit unions, USAA, PNC, Southwest Airlines, eBay, Sam’s Club, ShopRite, JCPenney, and ING Direct. Of course, not every company has earned good web experience, especially the companies at the bottom of the 2012 ratings:  Charter Communications, Humana, Qwest, Cigna, Time Warner Cable, Anthem, Road Runner, Medicare, Blue Shield of CA, and TracFone.

We also  examined industry averages and found that banks and investment firms have earned the highest Temkin Web Experience Ratings followed by hotel chains and retailers. But consumers gave very low ratings to Internet service providers, health plans, and TV service providers.

The research also examines how individual companies are rated relative to their industry peers. The following 11 firms outscored their industry average Temkin Web Experience Ratings by 10 percentage points or more: Kaiser Permanente, Amazon, ShopRite, Southwest Airlines, USAA, Starbucks, H.E.B., Publix, credit unions, Marriott, and Apple.

The following 15 companies fell 10 percentage points or more below their industry averages: Wells Fargo Advisors, AAA, Charter Communications, Delta Airlines, Citibank, Bank of America, Humana, TracFone, Qwest, Old Navy, U.S. Airways, Rite Aid, Kohl’s, Kmart, and Charter Communications.

Temkin Group also analyzed changes from the 2011 Temkin Web Experience Ratings. Led by TV service providers and insurance carriers 11 of the 12 industries that were in both the 2011 and 2012 ratings improved since last year.

Seventy-two percent of companies that were in the 2011 and 2012 Temkin Web Experience Ratings showed improvement. Led by Comcast (Internet and TV service), Allstate, AOL, Charter Communications, Toshiba, and Sam’s Club, 20 companies improved by 10 percentage points or more between 2011 and 2012. Only three companies­— Kohl’s, TracFone, and Rite Aid—declined by 10 percentage points or more during that timeframe.

Do you want to see the data? Go to the Temkin Ratings website where you can sort through all of the results for free. You can even purchase the underlying data if you want to get more access.

The bottom line: Web experience is not good enough for how important it is

Report: 2012 Temkin Loyalty Ratings

Access the data from all Temkin Ratings research at the Temkin Ratings website.

We just published a new Temkin Group report, 2012 Temkin Loyalty Ratings. The report analyzes feedback from 10,000 U.S. consumers to rate their loyalty to 206 organizations across 18 industries. Congratulations to the top firms in this year’s ratings: Sam’s ClubAldi, USAA, Publix, credit unions, and Amazon.com.

We added six industries (fast food chains, grocery chains, major appliances, car rental agencies, auto dealers, and parcel delivery services) and 63 companies compared with the 2011 Temkin Loyalty Ratings.

Here is the executive summary from the report:

Sam’s Club, Aldi, and USAA earned the top spots in the 2012 Temkin Loyalty Ratings while Citigroup (banking and credit cards) and Charter Communications (TV service and Internet service) each show up twice in the bottom four. We asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to rate their loyalty to companies across three dimensions: likely to recommend, reluctant to switch, and willing to repurchase. Their responses allowed us to rate the loyalty of customers to 206 companies across 18 industries. One-quarter of companies have “strong” or “very strong” ratings while 50% have “weak” or “very weak” ratings. At an industry level, grocery chains and retailers have the most loyal customers while internet service providers and TV service providers have the least loyal customers. USAA has the most loyal customers across three industries, banking, insurance, and credit cards. When comparing the results from the 2011 and 2012 Temkin Loyalty Ratings, we find that PNC and USAA improved the most and Kohl’s and Hyatt declined the most.

Download report for $195

The Temkin Loyalty Ratings are based on evaluating three components of loyalty:

  1. Recommending: How likely are consumers to recommend the company to friends and colleagues?
  2. Switching: How reluctant are consumers to switch business away from the company?
  3. Repurchasing: How willing are customers to purchase additional products and services from the company?

Here are the ratings for all 206 companies:

Here’s how the industries compare with each other:

Here are some other highlights from the research:

  • USAA (in their banking and credit card divisions) as well as credit unions (banking) outpaced their industry peers by more than 25 percentage points.
  • DHL and RadioShack are the furthest behind their peers, falling more than 20 percentage points below their industry averages.
  • Across the 12 industries we examined in both years, nine earned higher loyalty scores in 2012 and three showed a decline. Computer makers are at the top of the list of gainers while retailers had the largest decline.
  • Of the 139 companies that are included in both the 2011 and 2012 Temkin Loyalty Ratings, 84 firms made at least a small improvement in their scores. Led by PNC and USAA, 19 companies earned double-digit improvements over the last year.
  • Kohl’s and Hyatt are the only companies that declined by more than 10 percentage points over the previous year.

Download report for $195

Do you want to see the data? Go to the Temkin Ratings website where you can sort through all of the results for free. You can even purchase the underlying data if you want to get more access.

The bottom line: Consumer loyalty remains up for grabs across most industries.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,796 other followers

%d bloggers like this: