BW Picked the Best. You Choose the Worst
Business Week for the first time has ranked companies for their customer service.
The weekly magazine's timing came close to being laughably off. It nearly went to press listing discount airliner JetBlue as No. 4. Business Week deemed JetBlue's customer service fiasco the week of Valentine's Day catastrophic enough to yanked the company from the list altogether.
In addition to well-publicized meltdowns, Business Week based its rankings on a combination of factors: It started with brands already ranked by J.D. Power & Associates, commissioned J.D. Powers to survey customers about brands J.D. Powers doesn't track, and polled 3,000 BW readers. Niche brands were eliminated, and so were companies with less than $1.5 billion in sales
The companies that made the cut fell largely into three categories, the magazine said: "industry disrupters," such as financial services company Washington Mutual, privately-held or family-run businesses such as southeastern grocery chain Publix Super Markets Inc., and luxury brands, such as Four Seasons hotels and Toyota's high-end make Lexus.
One surprise is the "satisfaction index." It's amazing what a low proportion of respondents said they would recommend some of the top 25 brands. For example, only 34 percent said they would recommend No. 14 Washington Mutual, and 40 percent said they would recommend No. 8 UPS. Makes you wonder how many would recommend the next 75.
The most fascinating part of the story to me was a reference to businesses' response to the backlash against overseas call centers.
The answer to offshoring is "homeshoring," which is shorthand for an army of stay-at-home moms who, armed with a broadband connection and a computer, take customer service calls at home.
The flexible hours makes for loyal employees. According to BW, home-based agents have turnover rates of between 10 percent and 30 percent, compared with anywhere from 60 percent to 100 percent for the average call center.
Stephen Loynd, program manager for contact center services at market research firm IDC, predicts the number of home-based agents hitting 328,000 by 2010, up from 138,000 last year.
In the category of no-brainers, the story goes on to say that happy employees tend to produce happy customers.
You can check out the list for yourself here.
I would be a poor blogger, though, if I didn't let you know that In the spirit of American Idol, there is also a Vote for the Worst-style customer service competition going on right now at consumerist.com.
Yes, you get to vote for the worst company in America in a series of face-offs, i.e. Best Buy v. U-Haul and Comcast v. Sony.
Your thoughts on either BW's list of champs or consumerists.com' brackets? Any companies you think should or should not be on there?
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