Facebook currently has more than 800 million users. Any company of this size is sure to have some detractors. Compared to other leading social media sites, however, Facebook has the lowest customer satisfaction score from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The site has repeatedly irked users by neglecting personal privacy. Notable events include the introduction of facial recognition software, which spurred an investigation by the European Union, and the Facebook timeline. Facebook received significant negative press for forcing new settings on users that changes how their personal information is shared with others. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has only recently said that the company will no longer do this. According to the MSN Money-IBOPE Zogby International customer service survey for 2011, 25.9% of Facebook users described the company’s customer service as “poor” — the lowest rating.
2. American Airlines
American’s parent, AMR, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2011. That virtually wiped out the value of the holdings of every shareholder. American recently was picked as the worst airline for customer service by the annual Middle Seat scorecard, published in the Wall Street Journal. “For the past five years, American has been among the worst three airlines at on-time performance, a key measure of an airline’s operation since it impacts mishandled bags, bumped passengers and even canceled flights and customer complaints,” the survey’s authors said. The report states that the airline was the worst among major carriers last year for baggage handling and canceled flights, canceling 70% more flights than United (NYSE: UAL) and Delta (NYSE: DAL). With a score of 63 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index section on airlines, American falls near the bottom, well below leader Southwest (NYSE: LUV), which has a score of 81.
AT&T (NYSE: T) recently received the lowest score given by JD Power for wireless customer care performance. It also was given the lowest rating for customer service by ACSI. AT&T has been dogged by problems with its 3G network, which are now largely behind it. AT&T was attacked by both the government and press for what many saw as an attempt to set up a monopoly through its buyout of T-Mobile. Consumers feared the combined company would have extraordinary powers to set prices. The wireless carrier also received the lowest satisfaction rating for cell-phone standard service providers, according to Consumer Reports. The MSN Money-IBOPE Zogby International customer service survey reports that 26% of customers rate service as “poor.”
Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has punished its shareholders as its percentage of the smartphone market has dropped quarter after quarter — its stock is down 50% in the last year. Nokia likely will lose its lead as the top handset company in the world to Samsung sometime this year. Nokia was tied for lowest overall satisfaction in JD Power’s 2011 Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Study. It also has received the lowest ACSI score for wireless telephones. According to Interbrand, Nokia’s brand value has dropped 15% from last year. Nokia has tried to salvage its prospects through an agreement with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), whose Windows OS will be used in Nokia smartphones. Despite rave reviews for the new Windows Mobile, a partnership with the weakest mobile OS maker only makes Nokia’s fortunes worse.
5. Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs’ (NYSE: GS) poor reputation was cemented when the government sued it for fraud in 2010. The firm settled with the government for $550 million, but this was viewed as little more than a slap on the wrist because of the bank’s immense wealth. And the fraud accusations have not stopped — they have actually accelerated. Goldman faces a set of suits over mortgage instruments it sold worth a total of $15.8 billion. The Federal Housing Finance Agency in September accused Goldman of misrepresenting the quality of $11.1 billion worth of residential mortgage-backed securities. In the cases in which Goldman has settled claims, the press has not always been favorable. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Goldman agreed to forgive 25% of principal balances on 143 mortgage loans to borrowers in New York, or $13 million of a total principal balance of $52 million. The $13 million is less than a senior banker at Goldman might make in a year. Perhaps those homeowners are part of the Occupy Wall Street protests against big banks, for which Goldman is the poster boy.