Amazon.com Tops BusinessWeek’s List of ‘Customer Service Champs’

February 19, 2009

USAA, Jaguar, Lexus and The Ritz-Carlton round out the top 5

NEW YORK, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ – Amazon.com, Jaguar, and Lexus top BusinessWeek’s third annual ranking of “Customer Service Champs.” The BusinessWeek list ranks the best providers of customer service and digs into the techniques, strategies, and tools they use to deliver great service. Amazon, which beat out USAA for the number one spot this year, has earned a reputation for strong service by letting customers get what they want without ever talking to an employee. But when things go wrong at Amazon — and they occasionally do — the company’s employees get involved. That may be where Amazon stands out most markedly from other companies.

If anything, the tough economy has made starker the difference between companies that put customers first and those that sacrifice loyalty for short-term gain. In this year’s ranking, which uses data culled from J.D. Power & Associates, which, like BusinessWeek, is owned by The McGraw-Hill Companies, more than half of the top 25 brands showed improved customer service scores over last year. Among the bottom 25 of the more than 200 brands surveyed, scores mostly fell.

To come up with the winners, BusinessWeek started with existing data from J.D. Power & Associates which surveys consumers every year about customer satisfaction. BusinessWeek looked at two of the several measures they assess: the perceived quality of a company’s staff, and what customers think of its processes, such as return policies or reservation procedures.

BusinessWeek aggregated the scores within an industry for each individual brand. Because some businesses work across multiple industries, such as banking and insurance, BusinessWeek included the brand only in the industry in which it scored highest. BusinessWeek’s results may differ from J.D. Power’s satisfaction rankings, which also consider quality, presentation, and price.

As in past years, BusinessWeek also surveyed 5,000 people using the BusinessWeek Market Advisory Board, asking them to nominate three companies they felt were best at customer service and three they felt were the worst. More than 1,000 readers responded. J.D. Power took those top choices and surveyed consumers nationwide. That allowed BusinessWeek to expand the rankings beyond J.D. Power’s existing database, which includes only a limited number of retailers, for example. J.D. Power then ranked all of the brands using scores from its database and the additional surveys. To account for differences between sectors — buying a Lexus, for example, is nothing like buying a cell phone — BusinessWeek gave bonus points for those companies that lead their industries and subtracted points for those that fell below third place. They also gave 25 bonus points to brands that did best in our readers’ poll.

One outlier: Starbucks, which got many votes from readers. Because none of its peers did well in the readers’ survey or appeared in J.D. Power’s 2008 database, BusinessWeek left it off the list. As a result, BusinessWeek can only give the coffee chain a venti honorable mention. For a more complete description of our methodology, go to www.businessweek.com/go/09/method.

BusinessWeek’s special report, “Customer Service Champs,” is featured in the March 2, 2009 issue, on newsstands February 20th. Additional content, including readers’ experiences and a slide show on top customer service contenders, is available online at www.businessweek.com/go/customer.

BusinessWeek’s Ranking of “Customer Service Champs”

    Rank   Brand
     1     Amazon.com
     2     USAA
     3     Jaguar
     4     Lexus
     5     The Ritz-Carlton
     6     Publix Super Markets
     7     Zappos.com
     8     Hewlett-Packard
     9     T. Rowe Price
     10    Ace Hardware
     11    Keybank
     12    Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts
     13    Nordstrom
     14    Cadillac
     15    Amica
     16    Enterprise Rent-A-Car
     17    American Express
     18    Trader Joe's
     19    JetBlue Airways
     20    Apple
     21    Charles Schwab
     22    BMW
     23    True Value
     24    L.L. Bean
     25    JW Marriott

SOURCE BusinessWeek

Source: newswire

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