Special Report

Customer Service Hall of Fame

7. UPS
> Pct. ratings “excellent”: 36.7%

United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) shipped an average of 14.4 million packages per day in 2013, 3.7% more than the year before. Despite the increase in the number of daily shipments, the company has maintained its outstanding record of quality customer service. UPS has been named to the Customer Service Hall of Fame each year since 2010.

The UPS customer experience includes UPS My Choice, which gives consumers the ability to specify how they want their packages delivered. The company touts the program as having nearly 7 million users as of last year.

As Calkins pointed out, with “thousands and thousands of employees and every day millions of interactions with customers,” ensuring quality customer service is extremely difficult. Yet, rival FedEx has typically also fared well in customer service, having also been named to the Customer Service Hall of Fame each year from 2010 through 2013. Although FedEx missed making the list this year, it was only by a small margin.

Quality customer experiences have likely driven up the value of the UPS brand, which was valued at more than $13.7 billion in 2013, according to global brand consultancy firm Interbrand.

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6. Trader Joe’s
> Pct. ratings “excellent”: 37.2%

Popular grocery store chain Trader Joe’s has developed a unique identity in a very competitive industry, despite spending remarkably little on advertising. In addition to providing a unique selection of wines and food, the company offers a unique atmosphere.

According to Calkins, the brand is “full of personality and people really like that.” For example, associates wear Hawaiian shirts and use maritime bells to communicate.

In contrast to many of the nation’s best companies for customer service, Trader Joe’s is relatively small. The chain has just over 400 stores, and its first store opened outside of California only in 1993.

Trader Joe’s has made the Customer Service Hall of Fame in four of the past five years. This year, more than 37% of respondents rated Trader Joe’s service as “excellent.” The company has exceptionally strong customer satisfaction scores for a grocery chain — it is the only company in the industry to make the Hall of Fame this year.

5. American Express
> Pct. ratings “excellent”: 37.7%

Unlike many other companies on the Hall of Fame, opinions of customer service at American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) are especially inconsistent.

In 2012, the credit card company made the Customer Service Hall of Fame. Last year, however, the company was on the Hall of Shame list, with 14% of survey respondents reporting “poor” experiences with American Express. This year, the company is back in the Hall of Fame, with nearly 38% of respondents reporting “excellent” experiences.

Credit card companies associated with banks tend to suffer from the banks’ often poor public images. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup — banks that issue their own credit cards — all made our Customer Service Hall of Shame list this year.

While American Express has a banking component, it is generally considered a credit card company and has largely avoided the negative association with the banking industry.

Employees also seem to be relatively satisfied. Reviewers at Glassdoor.com gave American Express above average ratings as an employer.

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