Champs or Chumps? BusinessWeek's annual list of customer service standouts

BusinessWeek has just released their annual list of Top 25 Customer Service Champions.  Once again, there are some obvious choices along with a few head-scratchers.  A company like USAA with a legion of passionate, loyal customers seems like a great choice.  BusinessWeek gave them an A+ rating for quality of staff and 78% of customers surveyed would recommend the brand. No problems there.

But what about Enterprise Rent-a-Car, whose BusinessWeek report card includes a B for quality of staff and only 36% of customers surveyed would recommend the brand?  How did they get into the Top 25?! One obvious flaw in BusinessWeek's approach may explain why. J.D. Power's Customer Satisfaction ratings are the starting point for the BusinessWeek list. Enterprise Rent-a-Car won J.D. Power's 2009 Customer Satisfaction Award for the rental car category. Small problem: J.D. Power's 'Customer Satisfaction Award' never directly assessed customer service. Rather, it looked exclusively at six categories where customer perceptions may be influenced by customer service: costs and fees, pick-up process, rental car, return process, reservation process, shuttle bus/van.

What do you think? Who should be on the list and who shouldn't? Please leave your comments!

Click here to read the list.

BusinessWeek's 2009 Customer Service Champs

BusinessWeek has just released their list of 2009 Customer Service Champs. Their methodology may be flawed, but one theme is clear: companies are working hard to keep the valuable customers they already have along with the talented employees that serve them.

You may want to start by reading BusinessWeek's Top 25 list here.

So, why is this list flawed?
To be clear, it is still a good message (more on that in a moment), but I disagree with their methodology.(You can read more about that here.) The biggest gripe I have with their rankings is the influence of the BusinessWeek Market Advisory Board. This is essentially a reader panel that was asked to provide a subjective assessment of their favorite and least favorite customer service organizations. Their opinions are balanced against other more objective factors, so an organization like Nordstrom can earn the #13 spot despite relative poor scores for quality of staff and efficiency of service from J.D. Power and Associates. (For the record, I am firmly convinced that Nordstrom jumped the shark long ago as a customer service icon.)

What's good about the list?
The list and supporting material keep the customer service conversation going, which is always a good thing. Their article "Customer Service in a Shrinking Economy" is especially on-target and is definitely worth a read.