Kudos To Customer Service Leaders

The annual Customer Service Week starts today and goes through Friday (10/7). Given the occasion, it seems like a good opportunity to acknowledge some of the better performers in our 2011 Temkin Customer Service Ratings, which ranks 129 large companies across 12 industries. First of all, kudos to the top 25 companies in the ratings. led by USAA, Edward Jones, Courtyard by Marriott, and Sam’s Club: But, overall, companies aren’t very good at customer service and there is a wide difference across industries… …so I want to give a shout out to companies that most outperformed their industry averages. Led by USAA, Read More …

Morton’s Story Is Not About Great Customer Service

Over the past few days, I’ve been bombarded by emails telling me about “The Greatest Customer Service Story Ever Told.” It’s a blog post about how Morton’s Steakhouse delivered a steak dinner to a traveler at an airport after he tweeted the following… Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks 🙂 My take: This is a great story and is getting Morton’s a lot of exposure. It’s wonderful that Morton’s delivered the unexpected steak dinner, but it’s not great customer service. As a matter of fact, it’s not Read More …

Report: 2011 Temkin Customer Service Ratings

We just published a new Temkin Group report, 2011 Temkin Customer Service Ratings. Companies are recognizing that customer service is more than a cost-center; it’s often a critical moment of truth that drives customer loyalty. But how effective are companies at delivering good customer service experiences? Here’s the executive summary: USAA and Edward Jones took the top spots in the 2011 Temkin Customer Service Ratings. We asked 6,000 US consumers to rate their recent customer service experience. This data allowed us to rate 129 companies across 12 industries. Only 12 of those companies received a “strong” customer service rating. Retailers, hotel chains, and investment Read More …

A Bit Of Customer Service Data

For my second post in honor of National Customer Service Week, I’m sharing some data. Tealeaf commissioned a consumer study by Harris Interactive about online interactions. I was struck by the data on customer service. Over the last couple of years, consumers have been more inclined to contact customer service after a problem with their online experience… especially over the phone: What is it like for consumers when they contact a company’s customer service organization? Not very good. Considerably less than half of companies regularly delight customers in any channel: The bottom line: Customer service needs more attention.

Happy National Customer Service Week!

One of my 8 Customer Experience Megatrends is Customer Service Rejuvenation, which I describe as follows: As companies do touchpoint analyses and customer journey maps, they often find that customer service is a key “moment of truth” for customers. Unfortunately, the cost-cutting in this area over the last several years has created many poor experiences. Companies are recognizing that poor customer service is creating a very negative perception of their brand and will increasingly make investments to improve these experiences Customer service has been a very under-appreciated interaction, so I am thrilled to celebrate National Customer Experience Week this week. Hopefully all Read More …

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 Read More …

Barnes & Noble, Kohl’s, and Marriott Top Customer Service Ratings

In a new report called Rating Customer Service Experiences, 2010, I analyzed how 4,600+ US consumers rated their customer service experiences with 92 large companies across 14 industries. Led by Barnes & Noble, Kohl’s, and Marriott, 24 companies received a Net Satisfaction Score* of 80% or higher. At the other end of the spectrum, 10 firms had Net Satisfaction Scores below 50%: Charter Communications, Comcast, Washington Mutual, United Healthcare, Aetna, Citigroup, AOL, HSBC, Bank of America, and Capital One. The absolute scores tell only a part of the story. We also compared the customer service rating for each company with the average for its industry. It turns Read More …

Five Wishes For Customer Service In 2010

As I mentioned in my previous post, customer service deserves a lot more attention. Well, Customer Service Week also deserves more than one post. So here are a five items on my wish list for customer service operations in 2010: Forget about average handle times. If you want shorter calls, disconnect your phones. But if a customer calls you, focus more on making them happy then on getting them off the line. Learn from every interaction. Customer service interactions are full of insights about problems and unmet customer needs; stop squandering those extremely valuable insights.  Recover quickly and be proactive. A quick solution to a problem generates goodwill, Read More …

A Good Week For Customer Service

Customer service is underapreciated in many companies. So it’s great that we are celebrating Customer Service Week. In honor of the occasion, I’ve collected some of my thoughts (and posts) about customer service: Customer Service Attracts Loyal Customers highlights an important fact that consumers that are looking for good customer service are much more loyal than those that are looking for low prices. Customer Service Trumps Price shows how consumers prefer good customer service more frequently than low prices across 12 different industries. Comparing Price Seekers And Service Seekers shows that most consumers want both low prices and good service, but those that want only good service far outnumber those Read More …

Customer Service Attracts Loyal Customers

In a new research report called Service Seekers Are More Loyal Than Price Seekers (based on a survey of about 4,600 US consumers), we analyze the loyalty of four consumer segments that I’ve previously discussed in this blog: The report examines the loyalty of these segments across 12 industries: airlines, banks, wireless providers, credit card providers, hotels, insurance firms, Internet service providers, investment firms, health plans, PC manufacturers, retailers, and TV service providers. Across all industries and consumer segments, I analyzed three areas of loyalty: willingness to buy more products, reluctance to switch from current providers, and likelihood to recommend providers to friends and colleagues. Here are some of the interesting Read More …

Good, Old-Fashioned Online Customer Service

I decided to go to the “way back machine” and look at a (very old) report that I wrote in July 2002 called “Mastering Online Customer Experience.” Here’s an excerpt from the report: Don’t Deploy Technology — Solve Problems. While companies hope that online service will reduce costs, they mistakenly scrutinize individual interactions instead of studying the collection of contacts required to solve a customer’s problem… Firms must monitor interactions from the customer’s point of view — from the inception to resolution of an issue. Doesn’t that sound like something you could say today?!? Here’s another piece of the report that’s still relevant; a  graphic that depicts how Read More …

Customer Service Trumps Price

In a recently published research report called “Customer Service Trumps Price,” we asked nearly 4,600 US consumers how they choose the companies they do business with across 12 industries: airlines, banks, cell phone service providers, credit card providers, hotels, insurance firms, Internet service providers, investment firms, medical insurance companies, PC manufacturers, retailers, and TV service providers. In particular, we asked consumers to rate the importance of two criteria: good customer service and low prices. Here’s some of what we found when we analyzed the data across five generations of consumers: Across all 12 industries (and every generation of consumers), good customer service was Read More …

Don’t Confuse Customer Service With Customer Experience

I often get asked to describe the difference between customer service and customer experience. To me, it comes down to this picture: Customer service is an organizational function, like marketing and sales, that manages a subset of interactions with customers. Customer experience, on the other hand, is the connection that companies make with their customers across all functions and touchpoints. Here’s a definition for customer experience: The perception that customers have of their interactions with an organization I also like what Amazon.com’s CEO Jeff Bezos had to say on this topic: Internally, customer service is a component of customer experience. Customer experience includes having the Read More …

Customer Service Champs From BusinessWeek

In its current issue “Extreme Customer Service,” BusinessWeek published it’s annual report on customer service which ranks the “Customer Service Champs.” Here are the top 10 on the list: AMAZON.COM USAA JAGUAR LEXUS THE RITZ-CARLTON PUBLIX SUPER MARKETS ZAPPOS.COM HEWLETT-PACKARD T. ROWE PRICE ACE HARDWARE While we didn’t evaluate the same group of companies, there’s an overlap between this list and Forrester’s customer experience rankings. In our rankings, Amazon.com came in 4th and USAA came in 2nd. That’s not a surprise; customer service is often a key component of an overall customer experience strategy (look for an upcoming post that explores the difference between customer service and customer experience). Read More …

Verizon Wireless Customer Service Let Me Down

I just had an interesting interaction with Verizon Wireless. After a long phone discussion with the firm’s customer service department, the rep told us that we needed to go into a store to show some documentation. When we got to the store, the agent didn’t understand why we were there.  After we explained the situation to him, he looked at our account and told us that he couldn’t do anything because our account was overdue. Well, we were shocked; we had paid our bill. After several minutes of trying to explain this to the rep, we finally got him to call the customer service center Read More …