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?

Gen Y Brands Gain, Financial Brands Lose

Interbrand just published its annual ranking of the 100 best global brands. Here are the top 10 brands on the list:

  1. Coca Cola
  2. IBM
  3. Microsoft
  4. GE
  5. Nokia
  6. Totota
  7. Intel
  8. McDonald’s
  9. Disney
  10. Google

Here’s some of the other interesting details from the rankings:

  • Google is the only new entry to the top 10; it was 20th last year. Which company dropped out? Mercedes-Benz was 10th last year and is 11th this year.
  • The listing also provides the change in value of the brands since last year. Here are the biggest changes in brand value:
    • Top gainers: Google (+43%), Apple (+24%), Amazon (+19%), ZARA (+15%), SAP (+13%), and Nintendo (+13%)
    • Top losers: Merrill Lynch (-21%), Gap (-20%), Morgan Stanley (-16%), Citi (-15%), Ford (-12%), and UBS (-11%).
    • The top gainers are what I call “Gen Y brands,” they came to age during the early adulthood of 20 year-olds, while the losers are dominated by large financial institutions.
  • There were 7 new brands on the top 100 list this year: H&M (#22), Blackberry (#73), Ferrari (#93), Giorgio Armani (#94), Marriott (#96), FedEx (#99), and Visa (#100).
  • The highest ranked company on last year’s list that did not make this year’s top 100 was Kodak (#82 in 2007).
  • For fun, I went back and looked at the top 10 brands from 2001. Here they are:
    1. Coca Cola
    2. Microsoft
    3. IBM
    4. GE
    5. Nokia
    6. Intel
    7. Disney
    8. Ford
    9. McDonald’s
    10. AT&T

The bottom line: Just about everyone recognizes this: 

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