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New Report Suggests That Positive Brand Experience Will Turn One-Time Consumers Into Long-Time Customers

Marketers can spend millions promoting their brands but if
the customer experience with the company is not a good one, money will have
been spent for naught.

That follow-through, says a study, is key to building better
long-term relationships with customers. The research indicates that a company's
interactions with consumers beyond traditional advertising can influence brand
perception and help dictate how much business those consumers will do with
companies going forward. Consumers also spread these perceptions by
word-of-mouth to friends and colleagues, which can impact future sales in a
significant way-something companies are wise to pay close attention to.

For the third year, the customer experience research firm
the Temkin Group has issued its annual Temkin Experience Ratings Report,
which evaluates 246 companies across 19 industries to find out how consumers
rate their functional, accessible and emotional experiences with these
companies. A total of 10,000 consumers were surveyed online in January to
compile the data for the report. Consumers were asked to rate experiences they
had during the previous 60 days.

The functional experience measures to what degree consumers
were able to accomplish what they wanted to with a company. The accessible
experience measures to what degree consumers were able to interact with a
company. And the emotional experience measures how consumers felt about their overall
dealing with a company.

And the results indicate that not enough attention is being
paid to this kind of service.

"Most companies have a long way to go before they've
mastered customer experience," reads the Temkin report's conclusion. "While any
company can improve portions of its customer experience, it takes more than
ambition and superficial change to create lasting differentiation."

The 19 industries measured include: airlines, appliance
makers, auto dealers, banks, car rental agencies, computer makers, credit card
issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains,
insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, parcel
delivery services, retailers, software firms, TV service providers and wireless

The report lists four Customer Experience Core Competencies
that companies need to master if they want to improve on customer experience.
They are:

Purposeful Leadership: Operate consistently with a
clear set of values
Employee Engagement: Align employees with the goals of the organization
Compelling Brand Values: Deliver on your brand promises to customers
Customer Connectedness: Infuse customer insight across the organization

Here is a summary of some of the report's findings:

  • Publix and Trader Joe's were the two highest-rated companies
    in the Temkin Experience report.
  • Rounding out the top 12 were Aldi, Chick-fil-A,, Sam's Club, H.E.B.,
    Dunkin' Donuts, Save-a-Lot, Sonic Drive-In, Little Caesars and Ace Hardware.
  • Grocery chains, fast food chains, parcel delivery services and retailers earned
    the highest average scores, while TV service providers, health plans and
    Internet service providers earned the lowest scores.
  • Grocery chains and fast food chains earned 13 of the top 19 spots.
  • Health plans produced the worst performance as a category, taking 7 of 15 of
    the lowest spots among all 246 companies.
  • The five lowest scoring companies were US Airways, Time Warner Cable, Days Inn,
    Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield and 21st Century.
  • 37% of the 246 companies received a "good" rating or better, an increase of 28%
    over last year, while 28% were rated poor or very poor.
  • When comparing companies to their industry averages, TriCare and USAA most
    outperformed their peers. Others significantly outperforming their peers were
    Kaiser Permanente, Advantage, AOL, Marriott, Charles Schwab and Alaska
  • Companies that underperformed the industry averages of their peers were Days
    Inn, RadioShack, 21st Century, US Airways, Motel 6, HSBC, Morgan
    Stanley and Apple stores.
  • Wireless carriers improved the most and appliances declined the most since last
  • Citibank, TriCare, TD Ameritrade, Office Depot, EarthLink and Hardees made the
    biggest gains, while Alamo and Budget lost the most ground.
  • While TV service providers Bright House Networks and Dish Network were the top
    scorers in their industry, they only managed to take 166th place in
    the ratings.
  • Of the 18 industries that were in both last year's and this year's survey (software
    firms was added this year), 11 earned higher scores this year.
  • Publix and Trader Joe's offered the top functional experience, leading 24
    companies that had "excellent" ratings in that experience component. The only
    two companies to score "very poor" in the functional experience category were
    Dollar and US Airways, although 26 companies registered "poor."
  • Ace Hardware provided the most accessible experience, leading 64 companies that
    received "excellent" ratings in this component. Medicaid, Days Inn and US
    Airways received "very poor" ratings, while 40 others received "poor" ratings.
  • Publix, Trader Joe's, Chick-fil-A and Aldi provided the best emotional
    experience, leading 12 companies who scored "good." No company received a
    rating of excellent. At the bottom of the emotional experience rating were Time
    Warner Cable and US Airways, who led 59 companies that rated "very poor" in
    this category.

In scoring the highest overall, Publix received an 84% Temkin Experience
rating, just edging out fellow grocery chains Trader Joe's (83%) and Aldi
(82%). Chick-fil-A had an 82% rating and retailers Sam's Club and
each had 82%. Others not mentioned above in the top 20 overall include such
chains as Nordstrom, Subway, Shop Rite, Arby's and Costco, all at 79%; and
Dairy Queen, Walgreens, Dollar Tree, Jack in the Box, PetSmart, Kroger and
Starbucks, all with 78%.

the bottom of the overall list is US Airways with only a 45% rating, just below
Time Warner Cable, Days Inn, Empire BCBS and 21st Century with 48%.
Others with low overall customer experience ratings were Charter Communications
and Cox Communications, both 51%, Comcast Internet service t 52%, and Comcast
TV service and Verizon TV service with 53% and MSN with 54%.