Special Report

Customer Service Hall of Shame

Big Kmart
Source: Wikimedia Commons

12. Kmart  (NASDAQ: SHLD)
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 15.5%

More than 15% of survey respondents rate Kmart’s customer service as poor, the highest share of any major retailer. Kmart is owned by the same parent company as Sears, whose 8.9% poor customer service rating is significantly better.

According to employee reviews on Glassdoor, the store’s slow and outdated cash registers frustrate both cashiers and customers. Kmart employees are also required to attempt to sign customers up for the company’s Shop Your Way rewards program, which by their account is a cumbersome process that does little to benefit the customer.

Poor customer service is likely hurting Kmart’s sales. Sears Holdings Corporation has not been profitable since 2010, and its fiscal 2015 revenue is less than half of what it was a decade ago. In an effort to return to profitability, Sears Holdings will be closing 68 Kmart locations and 10 Sears stores this year. More than 400 Kmart locations have already been closed since 2008.

verizon logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

11. Verizon Communications  (NYSE: VZ)
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 15.5%

With approximately 133.5 million subscribers as of the first quarter of 2015, Verizon is the largest wireless carrier in the country. In the wake of slowing smartphone market growth, Verizon has been expanding beyond its wireless business. The company recently purchased Yahoo’s online business for $4.38 billion as well as GPS vehicle tracking company Fleetmatics for $2.4 billion.

Nevertheless, customer service in the company’s core business is suffering. Verizon — along with the nation’s other three largest mobile carriers — ranks as having some of the worst customer service.

Verizon’s customer service, in some cases, escalated from poor to illegal. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau charged in 2015 that Verizon, along with Sprint, illegally billed customers with unauthorized third-party charges. The company also ignored customer complaints about the unauthorized charges, violating the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Verizon was charged $70 million in redress.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

10. Facebook  (NYSE: FB)
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 15.6%

Roughly 1.1 billion users visit Facebook every day, or one in every seven people on the planet. Despite their rapid growth and widespread adoption, social media companies tend to have lower customer satisfaction overall. Dissatisfaction with Facebook may partially stem from the many controversies over its targeted advertising and lack of user privacy on the website.

Some users have expressed concern over the company’s facial recognition technology and the use of GPS data to recommend new friends. Also, the numerous data leaks have demonstrated potential dangers in Facebook’s extensive collection of personal information. Facebook also lacks live customer support, leaving some users helpless. More than 15% of survey respondents consider Facebook’s customer service to be poor, the 10th largest share of any major company.

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