This Is America's Most Hated Industry

Customer satisfaction is among the core values of most successful businesses. Some of America’s most famous companies live by the motto “the customer is always right.” That may go too far, but at least, for these companies, the customer should always be happy. Apple is well known for customers who think very well of its products and services. Amazon almost always falls near the top of customer satisfaction lists. However, for every company and industry with satisfied customers, a few have almost no happy customers at all.

As a rule, most companies with low customer satisfaction are considered to be consumer-facing. They have many customers who need to deal with many employees every day. Many of these have as their primary function explaining to unhappy customers why and how problems will get better. Two classic examples of this are airlines and cable companies. Planes are late. Cable services sometimes go down. Consumer-facing workers cannot solve these problems. They can only explain them and ask for customer patience.

To identify America’s most hated industry, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed recent data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The ACSI model estimates customer satisfaction based on survey-measured inputs of customer expectations, perceptions of quality and value, and survey-measured outcomes of customer complaints and customer loyalty.

Admittedly, the pandemic did not help consumers’ feelings about companies. Still, the ACSI notes the decline in customer satisfaction began before COVID-19 hit. From 2010 to 2019, 70% of companies tracked by ACSI had either declining or flat customer satisfaction scores. By the fourth quarter of 2021, nearly 80% of companies had a lower customer approval rating than in 2010.

The rise of dissatisfied customers comes at a time when companies have more data at their fingertips than ever before about consumers. The problem lies with interpreting the data in a way that pinpoints where the problems lie for consumers, the ACSI contends.

Another consumer survey by marketing outfit Hubspot had some insights into what people find to be the most annoying aspects of customer service. About 57% of those surveyed said long wait times on the phone irked them the most, followed by speaking to a bot at 21%.

Perhaps that is why internet service providers and subscription television services are the least-liked industries today. Interestingly, those businesses were probably the most used during the pandemic as people worked from home or were looking for at-home entertainment. Any interruption in service probably would have angered users even more than usual. Each of these industries has a satisfaction score of 65 out of 100. That makes them America’s most hated industries.

Click here to see all of America’s most hated industries.

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