Customer Service Mediocrity – Part II – Who’s Getting It Right

Customer service might look different between industries depending on the nature of goods and services they offer.  Some customer service values are universal.  We’ll look at this by comparing and contrasting three highly-rated customer service  US companies with three who have received among the poorest ratings.


The following companies always receive top marks for their superior customer service:


Apple has an extremely loyal customer base. They offer a personalized support portal where customers can view and receive support for every Apple product they’ve purchased, and they’re known for their upbeat interactions and giving every customer the same level of attention regardless of their question/issues.


This well-known grocery store chain has been in business for 91 years. They have a highly community-centered approach to running their operations, even taking customer requests into account in their stocking decisions. Perhaps most importantly, they focus on employee morale, an strong indication that happy employees produce happy customers.


Las Vegas-based shoe and clothing retailer Zappos goes above-and-beyond for their customers. Some of their surprising policies include:

  • Free shipping for any number of transactions (returns, replacements, etc.)
  • A 365-day return policy
  • Local, never outsourced, customer service

Zappos is living proof that customer-centric rather than business-centric policies pay huge dividends in the long run, as evidenced by their almost $1 billion in annual gross revenue (


The following companies consistently receive low marks for providing poor customer service:


Walmart may fall into the category of companies we mentioned earlier that doesn’t feel like they have to go the extra customer-service mile.  This is because their prices and convenient one-stop-shop model keep people coming back. They are most notorious for long lines, a lack of associates on the floor to help answer questions, and apathetic employees.

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines is the seventh most-used airline in the United States, but they also have more complaints than any other airline (Reader’s Digest). Most of their complaints include overpriced bag fees, non-reclining seats, no beverage service, and their consistent problems with canceling and delaying flights. Like Walmart, their low prices give them a lot of traffic but don’t lead to customer satisfaction.

Bank of America

Bank of America is consistently ranked in the bottom 10% of companies in terms of customer service. The public’s biggest gripe with this company is the inability to get in touch with an actual human being over the phone. According to customers, this bank apparently subscribes to the “frustrate-them-until-they-give-up” customer service model.

From these examples, one can reach the conclusion that adhering to the “company is always right” over the “customer is always right” philosophy and worshipping the bottom line over prioritizing your customers is the fastest way to land you at the bottom of the customer service reputation barrel.

In the next article, we’ll discuss how bad customer service can cost your business and ways to make customer care a priority.