Special Report

Customer Service Hall of Fame

Thomas C. Frohlich, Samuel Stebbins, Evan Comen

Sony Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. Sony  (NYSE: SNE)
> Pct. “excellent” ratings: 41.1%

More than two in five survey respondents consider Sony’s customer service to be excellent, the sixth largest share of any company. As a manufacturer of consumer electronics, Sony not only needs to produce quality products, but also provide helpful support services. Sony has 534 customer support offices in the United States and receives roughly 1.8 million customer inquiries a year through either e-mail, phone, or chat services. Some of Sony’s flagship products include the Handycam camcorder, Xperia smartphones and tablets, and the PlayStation gaming console.

Sony’s customer satisfaction remains high despite a string of security issues with its online PlayStation Network. The incidents began in 2011, when a massive hack caused a month-long outage and a leak of tens of millions of users’ account details, including credit card information. The hack was one of the largest cases of data theft in history. As a result, Sony agreed to a $17.8 million settlement with affected users. Sony also gave victims access to free game downloads for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable.

Samsung Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

5. Samsung Electronics
> Pct. “excellent” ratings: 43.2%

This year, 43.2% of survey respondents rated Samsung Electronics’ customer service as excellent. Samsung is a manufacturer of consumer electronics, and its customer satisfaction largely depends on the quality of its products as well as its support services. Unlike its competitor Apple, Samsung manufactures smartphones with an open operating system, meaning developers can make changes to the device’s source code without the assistance of a Samsung representative.

While Samsung is still behind Apple in customer service, it does slightly better in product quality. The Samsung Galaxy Note5 ranks highest on American Customer Satisfaction Index list of top smartphones by customer satisfaction. It is followed by the iPhone 6s Plus, which is trailed closely by Samsung’s Galaxy S6 edge+ and the Galaxy Note 4. High regard for Samsung products and customer service is likely driving sales. Samsung phones made up 22.3% of all smartphones shipped worldwide in the second quarter of 2016, the largest global market share of any company.

4. Marriott
> Pct. “excellent” ratings: 44.7%

Roughly 45% of surveyed customers consider the customer service at Marriott to be excellent, the largest share of any hotel and the fourth largest of any company nationwide. On the same survey, respondents cite having a friendly and knowledgeable staff as the most important elements in quality customer service. This is likely the case at Marriott, where employee satisfaction is among the highest of any company. Writing on Glassdoor, Marriott staff frequently note abundant learning opportunities and great coworkers as major benefits of working at the company. The average tenure of a hotel manager at Marriott is 25 years, far longer than the average tenure across all hotels. Employees who are with the company for longer than 25 years are eligible for free weekend hotel stays for life.

Marriott guests are also some of the most loyal in the hotel industry. The Marriott Rewards program has roughly 55 million members and more business travelers than any other rewards program. According to a recent study by market research firm J.D. Power, members of Marriott Rewards are more satisfied with their rewards program than the members of any other hotel loyalty program.