L.L.Bean Tops Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Fourth Annual Ranking of "Customer Service Champs": USAA, Apple, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, and Publix Super Markets Complete the Top Five
New York, Feb 18, 2010 (Business Wire) – L.L.Bean, USAA and Apple top Bloomberg BusinessWeek's fourth annual ranking of "Customer Service Champs." The Bloomberg BusinessWeek list ranks the best providers of customer service and digs into the techniques, strategies and tools they use to deliver great service. L.L.Bean nabbed the #1 spot, jumping 23 spots from last year. USAA continued its streak as one of the top two companies for four years running, retaining the #2 spot for the second consecutive year. Amazon.com, which claimed last year's top position, dropped to #11, while Apple soared from #20 to #3. New to this year's list are Barnes & Noble (#9), Wegmans Food Markets (#12), Starbucks (#13), WestJet (#17), Branch Banking & Trust (#20), Panera Bread (#21), Dell (#23), Southwest Airlines (#24), and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (#25).
This year's highest achiever, L.L.Bean, grabbed the top spot by adapting to the way its customers shop now. For the first time in the company's 98-year history, internet sales this year will top catalog orders at the $1.5 billion Freeport, ME, retailer of outdoor gear. But L.L.Bean has done more than install such e-tailing basics as designing a Web site that makes placing orders intuitive and package tracking simple. It switched to a new bank that agreed to split the cost of free return shipping to holders of the L.L.Bean® Visa® credit card. It also opened the site to customer ratings and reviews of its wares, even if they're negative. Although L.L.Bean management could cut costs by off-shoring back-office operations, it has kept them in Maine, where Leon Leonwood Bean founded his mail-order company and his original store.
To come up with the winners, Bloomberg BusinessWeek started with existing data from J.D. Power & Associates, which each year surveys consumers about customer satisfaction. Bloomberg 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.
As in past years, Bloomberg BusinessWeek supplemented J.D. Power's database by surveying 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 people responded. That allowed Bloomberg 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.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek's special report, "Customer Service Champs," is featured in the March 1, 2010, issue, on newsstands February 19. Additional content, including full methodology, is available online at http://www.businessweek.com/go/customer.
BusinessWeek's Ranking of "Customer Service Champs"
- Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts
- Publix Super Markets
- Barnes & Noble
- Ace Hardware
- Wegmans Food Markets
- Amica Mutual Insurance
- Charles Schwab
- American Express
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- Branch Banking & Trust
- Panera Bread
- True Value
- Southwest Airlines
- Fairmont Hotels & Resorts