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The Worst Industries for Customer Service

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Everyone wants to be popular, especially companies. And great customer service is one way to get there.

Unfortunately, not all companies measure up when it comes to great customer service, and some industries in particular are continually ranked poorly for customer satisfaction.

The newest results of Zendesk’s quarterly survey of the industries with the best and worst customer satisfaction show that overall, customers are in better spirits about their interactions with companies.

Zendesk, a company that supplies businesses with customer service software, uses customer service interactions from more than 16,000 companies globally that have volunteered to share their data. The most recent results of the Zendesk Benchmark show that the average customer satisfaction ranking hit 81% for the second quarter of 2013, jumping three percentage points from the previous quarter.

“Companies in most industries throughout the world are seeing gains in customer satisfaction right when consumers are ready to spend more,” said Sam Boonin, research lead for the Zendesk Benchmark and vice president of products at Zendesk.

The findings from the Benchmark study rank the industries with the worst and best average customer satisfaction percentages. Of the five lowest scores on the list, all of the industries are on the rise or even with their score from the previous quarter.

Here are the five industries with the worst customer satisfaction.

5. Retail

Q2 Customer Satisfaction: 81%

% Point Change Since Q1: +1

The only industry on our list to match the average customer satisfaction score from the survey, the retail industry is on the rise.

That’s great news, considering some of the major changes that could have caused some customer dissatisfaction in the industry recently. As a result of a settlement between merchants and credit card issuers, many retailers are now allowed to add a surcharge of no more than 4% to consumers’ purchases for using a credit card. The fee would cover the processing charges the issuers charge retailers.

4. Financial & Insurance Services

Q2 Customer Satisfaction: 77%

% Point Change Since Q1: +5

The financial services industry takes the award for “most improved” among the industries on our list. As Zendesk notes, this industry normally ranks in the top three spots for the worst customer service, but its spike in the second quarter allowed it to drop a spot and get within four percentage points of the survey average of 81% satisfaction —  a major improvement.

3. Entertainment & Gaming

Q2 Customer Satisfaction: 76%

% Point Change Since Q1: +4

Entertainment and gaming are all about fun, right? Some customers aren’t having so much fun in their dealings with this industry. It jumped up a spot due to the rising customer satisfaction rating in the financial and insurance services industry, but this industry is obviously making great strides in making their customers happier, raising their score four percentage points.

2. Media & Telecommunications

Q2 Customer Satisfaction: 73%

% Point Change Since Q1: 0

As one of only four industries that Zendesk found to have no change from Q1 to Q2, the media and telecommunications industry didn’t see a boost from improved consumer confidence this quarter.

This category includes cellphone companies, and in an increasingly mobile world there may just be more to complain about. Just remember — you can prevent a customer service complaint of your own if your cellphone is stolen or hacked by being proactive and protecting yourself.

1. Social Media

Q2 Customer Satisfaction: 64%

% Point Change Since Q1: +2

Getting your social media account hacked and weeding through spam accounts can be incredibly frustrating, so no wonder this industry’s customer satisfaction ratings are significantly lower than any of the other industries on our list.

Image: iStockphoto

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