The Satisfaction Quarterly Report, Q1 2008

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:

ACSI National Satisfaction Scores

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?).

Written by 

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 leading-edge XM 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.

3 thoughts on “The Satisfaction Quarterly Report, Q1 2008”

  1. Thanks – I hadn’t heard of the ACSI either. Your post made me wonder if a company’s reputation for customer satisfaction would correlate with other aspects of its reputation – e.g. how it treats its employees, communities, the environment and society in general.

    Some quick searches using http:/www.vanno.com/ seems to indicate that their is a positive correlation – most of the companies rated top in ACSI Q1 2008 report do well – and those at the bottom in customer satisfaction do worse – by their employees, communities, the environment and society.

    It will be fun to dig into the ACSI further and see if that holds up more generally.

  2. Nick: The ACSI is a relatively unknown gem. They’ve done research to show the correlation between satisfaction and business performance. It’s a shame that the ACSI isn’t better marketed.

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