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:


  • 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.

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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

  1. Jeff Toister says:

    This is a fascinating concept. If I’m reading the methodology correctly, you are asking customers to imagine they had a bad experience and then imagine what they’d do. It would be interesting to see if the data would change if they were basing their likelihood to forgive off of an actual bad experience.

  2. Guillaume PETER says:

    We are all, every working days and week ends, customers and employees in companies. We know how hard it can be to deliver an excellent service 24/7 to every customer. So if we notice the endeavours of a company to correct his mistakes, we are ready to forgive ? Is that the goog reading of this new metric which I like very much and seems to be very pragmatic and more accurate than the the famous NPS !
    Thank you Bruce !

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