In a study by equity insight and analytics provider 24/7 Wall Street and research company Zogby Analytics, Comcast was named one of the worst performers in customer service, while Amazon was named the best. More than 1,500 Americans were asked to evaluate companies across 17 industries.
Of the 151 companies that participants were asked about, 112 received at least 500 evaluations—these 112 companies were then ranked.
The "Wall of Shame" list includes a number of notorious customer service offenders, including cable and mobile service providers Sprint, Time Warner, Dish, DirectTV, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. "These providers—and the industries they're in—are known for poor customer service. Given the services they provide, consumers notice disruptions immediately and then want immediate support. When something's wrong with their cable, or worse, their mobile device, customers want urgent help, and these companies are just not consistently delivering that help in the right ways, or quickly enough," says Shep Hyken, author and customer service expert.
Still, it's worth noting that these companies are not necessarily getting worse at what they do; customers' expectations are just growing at a high rate. "Customers get good service from brands in other industries, and these expectations eventually just carry over," Hyken says.
On the opposite side of the customer service spectrum, Amazon earned the highest rank for the seventh year in a row. The e-commerce company is joined by Chic-fil-A, Apple, Marriott, and Samsung Electronics to round out the top five. One thing that top performers have in common, Hyken says, is that they not only deliver outstanding support to customers, but they also enable customers to help themselves through self-service.
Google and YouTube are both in the top 15 customer service providers, and neither has a designated consumer-facing help line or call center. (Advertisers can get in touch with YouTube on the phone, Hyken points out.) The primary way that customers get support from these companies is through the Web, whether it's an FAQ page or another self-service route. "It's important to offer support across different channels that customers may rely on, but self-service is quickly emerging as a leading preferred channel," Hyken says.
Unlike Google and YouTube, social media giant Facebook finds itself on the Wall of Shame. It's performance when it comes to self-service resources is not up to par.
Another key takeaway from the Hall of Fame should be that the list is not dominated by expensive, upper-tier brands. "You don't see the Ritz-Carlton at the top of that list," Hyken says. "But you've got more moderately priced hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton listed in the top 15. What does that tell us? That the best customer service doesn't have to come from the most luxury companies—it can come from any brand that makes it a priority to deliver great service," he adds.