I recently mentioned the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to someone and was surprised that she had not heard of it. It’s a great research effort led by Claes Fornell at the University Of Michigan which tracks customer satisfaction on a quarterly basis. Here’s a chart of the national average since the index was created in 1994:
As you can tell, satisfaction scores have been generally on the rise over the last few years.
The ACSI provides both company-specific and industry-specific data for a different set of industries every quarter. The Q1 2008 ACSI looked at the following industries: hotels, restaurants, hospitals, cable & satellite TV, cellular telephones, computer software, fixed line telephone service, motion pictures, network/cable TV news, newspapers, wireless telephone service, airlines, express delivery, U.S. Postal Service, and energy utilities.
Here are some of the highlights from that Q1 2008 data:
- Best & Worst Organizations:
- Top rated: FedEx Corporation (express delivery), UPS (express delivery), Olive Garden (restaurant), and Southern Company (Utility)
- Largest improvement (since last year): Ameren Corporation (energy utilities), Reliant Energy (energy utilities), Energy Future Holdings (energy utilities), and McDonalds (limited service restaurants).
- Lowest rated: US Airways (airlines), Charter Communications (cable & satellite TV), Comcast Corporation (cable & satellite TV), and Sprint Nextel (wireless telephone services).
- Largest decline (since last year): US Airways (airlines), Continental Airlines (airlines), Sprint Nextel (wireless telephone services), and Northwest Airlines (airlines).
- Best & Worst Industries:
- Top rated: Express Delivery and Ambulatory Care.
- Largest improvement (since last year): Hotels and Fixed Line Telephone Services.
- Lowest rated: Airlines, Cable & Satelitte TV, and Newspapers.
- Largest decline (since last year): Newspapers and Broadcast TV News.
The bottom line: This should be a wake-up call to many firms (are you listening airlines and cable & satellite companies?).