Customer Service Is The Worst Touchpoint

I recently published a report called Experiences Across the Customer Lifecycle that examines how satisfied US consumers are with four interactions (researching a product/service, purchasing a product/service, using a product/service, getting customer service) across 14 industries.

In 12 of the 14 industries, customer service was the lowest (or tied for lowest) rated interaction. Across all four touchpoints, hotels are at the top and health plans are at the bottom. Here are some of the highlights from the analysis:

I also examined how consumers rated individual companies. Here’s a shout-out to the companies that outperformed their industry averages by more than 10 percentage points:

  • Researching a product/service: Credit unions, American Express, AT&T, DirecTV, USAA, Amazon.com, Verizon, and Barnes & Noble.
  • Purchasing a product/service: Credit unions, American Express, Medicare, Vanguard, Visa, Apple, Aol, Southwest Airlines, and ING Direct.
  • Using a product/service: Credit unions, Apple, Medicare, USAA, and Toshiba.
  • Getting customer service: Credit unions, Kaiser, Apple, Cox Communications, American Express, Visa, USAA, Barnes & Noble, Marriott, Kohl’s, Southwest Airlines, and Verizon.

The bottom line: The entire customer lifecycle needs and upgrade, especially customer service.

Which Companies Do Consumers Recommend The Most?

I recently published a research report called Consumers’ Likelihood To Recommend 133 Firms that examines how loyal consumers are to 133 firms across 14 industries (the same firms that are in the 2010 Customer Experience Index). Based on surveying more than 4,600 US consumers, I created a metric called Net Recommendations*.

Here are the top 10 firms and their Net Recommendations rates:

  • Barnes & Noble (86%)
  • Amazon (81%)
  • eBay (81%)
  • Vanguard (79%)
  • Kohl’s (79%)
  • USAA (78%)
  • Apple (77%)
  • BJs Wholesale Club (76%)
  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts (75%)
  • Costco (75%)

To get a more complete picture of which firms are generating loyal customers, I compared the Net Recommendations score for each company to its industry average. The top five on the list are credit unions, Sun Trust Bank, JetBlue, Vanguard, and Kaiser.  Here are the 25 firms that were 10 points or more above their peers:

 

 

*Net Recommendations: We asked consumers how likely they were to recommend firms to a friend or colleague on a 5-point scale from (1) not at all likely to (5) very likely. To create the Net Recommendations score, we took the percentage of consumers who gave the company a “4″ or “5″ and subtracted the percentage of consumers that gave the company a “1″ or “2.”

The bottom line: Does your business generate enough recommendations?

Health Plans Deliver The WORST Experience

In Forrester’s 2008 Customer Experience Index (CxPi), we ranked 113 companies across 12 industries. I recently published a snapshot of the health plan industry looking at the results from the eight plans on the list (Aetna, Anthem (BCBS), CIGNA, Kaiser, Medicaid, Medicare, TriCare, and United Healthcare). Here’s some of what we found:

  • Experiences are “very poor” and getting worse. As a group, the eight health plans ended up with a “very poor” rating of 51%; the lowest score of any of the 12 industries we examined. Making matters worse, the industry dropped three percentage points from the 2007 CxPi results. 
  • Kaiser led the pack. With an “okay” score of 70%, Kaiser led all health plans. All of the other plans ended up with ratings of either “poor” or “very poor.”
  • Medicaid is as bad as it gets. With a terrible rating of 38%, Medicaid was the lowest scoring plan. It also ended up in next to last place across all 113 organizations in our rankings.
  • Only Kaiser improved. When we compared the 2008 results with those from 2007, only Kaiser showed an improvement. CIGNA and Medicaid, on the other hand, declined the most.
  • Some big shifts in CxPi components. There were five double-digit changes in the scores for the three underlying elements of the CxPi: Kaiser’s improvement in being easy to work with and enjoyability, Anthem’s decline in enjoyability, and both CIGNA’s and Medicaid’s drop in being easy to work with.

The bottom line: Put customer experience on the health care reform agenda

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