Updated February 11, 2012UPDATE: Click here for the current Best and Worst in Retail Customer Service Complete List >>
Seven of the top 10 U.S. companies that were ranked by Business Week as being the best of the best in customer service in 2010 were retail companies. More than half of the total list of 25 Customer Service Champs for 2010 are members of the retail industry. This is to be expected since retailing is all about customer contact. You can't really separate excellent retailing from excellent customer service.
The biggest change from last year's Customer Service Champs list is found at the top of the list. L.L. Bean rocketed from the #24 position in 2009 to be named as the best of the best in 2010. It was a financially challenging year for L.L. Bean, and yet it seems the L.L. Bean customer experienced was not diminished.
By contrast, Apple was extremely busy having a stunningly successful recessionary year in 2009, but it also found time impress its customers. Apple was ranked as the #3 customer service company in the U.S., up from the #20 position last year.
Last year's #1 customer service champ, Amazon, fell to the #11 position. The shoe and apparel company that Amazon purchased last year, Zappos.com fell off the Customer Service Champs list altogether. This is certainly heartbreaking to both companies, which take great pride in being customer-centric customer service fanatics. Perhaps the Business Week surveyors couldn't reach any Zappos or Amazon customers on the phone because they were busy placing online orders.
Wegmans Food Market, Panera Bread, and Dell became customer service champs in 2010, after not being rating high enough by consumers in 2009 to make the list at all.
Business Week compiles its annual "Customer Service Champs" list by ranking customer service quality for U.S. companies from all industries. Business Week partners with J.D. Powers to create the rankings and the methodology is somewhat complex. Basically, the Customer Service Champs rankings focus on quality of staff, efficiency of service, return policies, and processes, from the customer point of view. (To see a complete explanation of the Customer Service Champ ranking methodology, click here.)
What follows is a list of U.S. companies with retail operations that were ranked by Business Week as Customer Service Champs in 2010. The numbers in the left column indicate where the company ranked out of 25 total companies included on the list.
Business Week Customer Service Champs:
1. L.L. Bean
5. Publix Super Markets
9. Barnes & Noble
10. Ace Hardware
12. Wegmans Food Markets
21. Panera Bread
22. True Value
More Bests from the U.S. Retail Industry: