Is Your Company Easy to Work With?



We recently published the third annual Temkin Experience Ratings. This year we ranked the customer experience delivered by 246 companies across 19 industries based on feedback from 10,000 U.S. consumers. The overall Temkin Experience Ratings is an average of three underlying qualities that consumers evaluate:

Functional: Can customers do what they want to do?

Accessible: How easy it is to work with the company?

Emotional: How do consumers feel about their interactions?

Let's take a closer look at the second component--whether a company is accessible. Why is this important? Because if your company is difficult to work with, customers will:

  • spend as little time interacting with your company as possible;
  • avoid doing business with you whenever they can;
  • get easily annoyed when even little things go wrong; and
  • tell other people how difficult you are to work with.

The Easiest And Hardest Companies to Work With

Let's start by giving congratulations to the easiest companies to work with: Ace Hardware, Arby's, Trader Joe's, Aldi, Save-a-Lot, and Publix.

As you can see in the accompanying chart, most of the top firms come from three industries: retail, grocery, and fast food. But two banks also made it into the top: credit unions and USAA.

At the other end of the spectrum, the most difficult companies to work with are Medicaid; Days Inn; US Airways; Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield; Alamo; Time Warner Cable; and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. The bottom of the list is a bit more diverse when it comes to industries, but we find a lot of health plans, TV service providers, and Internet service providers.

Here are some other observations from our 2013 ratings:

Companies that are much easier to work with than their peers: The companies with accessible ratings that are the most above their industry average are Kaiser Permanente (11 points ahead); TriCare (13 points ahead); USAA in insurance (12 points ahead); credit unions in banking (10 points ahead); Charles Schwab (10 points ahead); and USAA in banking (10 points ahead).

Companies that are much more difficult to work with than their peers: The companies with accessible ratings that are the most below their industry average are Days Inn (22 points below); 21st Century (17 points below); US Airways (15 points below); HSBC for banking (14 points below); Alamo (13 points below); Crowne Plaza (12 points below); and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (12 points below).

Companies heading in the right direction: The companies that earned the largest improvement in their accessible ratings between 2012 and 2013 are Citibank (+18 points); Sears (+13 points); TriCare (+13 points); Jack in the Box (+12 points); Office Depot (+11 points); Regions (+11 points); and TD Ameritrade (+11 points).

Companies heading in the wrong direction: The companies with accessible ratings that dropped the most between 2012 and 2013 are Alamo (-27 points); BMW (-17 points); The Hartford (-12 points); Days Inn (-11 points); Motel 6 (-11 points); and USAA for credit cards (-10 points).

Industries that are easy to work with: The top six industries based on their average accessible ratings are grocery (84 percent); fast food (83 percent); retail (81 percent); parcel delivery (78 percent); banks (75 percent); and insurance (70 percent).

Industries that are difficult to work with: The bottom six industries based on their average accessible ratings are health plans (56 percent); Internet service providers (58 percent); TV service providers (58 percent); appliances (61 percent); computer manufacturers (62 percent); and rental car agencies (63 percent).

Industries heading in the right direction: The industries that earned the largest improvement in their accessible ratings between 2012 and 2013 are parcel delivery (+7 points); banks (+6 points); fast food (+4 points); and auto dealers (+4 points).

Industries heading in the wrong direction: The only industries with accessible ratings that dropped between 2012 and 2013 are appliances (-4 points); rental cars (-2 points); and hotels (-2 points).

It's Time to Hit the Easy Button

There's nothing good that comes from being difficult to work with. Every company can gain some competitive ground by making things easier for its customers. Why not start a program to attack things that make life difficult for your customers? You'll find opportunities for improvement all over the place. Culprits to look for include outdated rules, difficult process steps created by overly conservative risk/compliance departments, and confusing instructions.

Here's a good place to start: Ask your customers and your front line employees "What can we do to make things easier for you?"