Special Report

Customer Service Hall of Shame

Source: Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock.com

9. Spirit
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 16.4%
> Revenue: $2.3 billion
> Industry: Airline

In the airline industry, providing superlative customer service can be expensive. Food, legroom, and additional flight attendants can narrow an airline’s profit margin, and some budget airlines choose to forego customer service expenses in order to offer cheaper tickets. Spirit Airlines is one such ultra low-cost carrier, offering inexpensive flights while charging additional fees for printed boarding passes, water, and carry-on luggage. Some 16.4% of survey respondents rate their experience with Spirit Airlines as poor, the largest share of any major passenger airline.

In 2015, Spirit customers filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Transportation at more than five times the rate of the average airline. Despite the negative reviews, Spirit is one of the fastest growing and most profitable airlines in the United States. The company plans on expanding its fleet from 80 planes as of 2015 to 144 by the end of 2021.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. Cox Communications
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 16.5%
> Revenue: $20.0 billion
> Industry: Cable/satellite TV company

Since 24/7 Wall St. began releasing this survey, cable services has been one of the industries with the greatest representation on the Customer Service Hall of Shame. The industry’s customers disparage spotty service, inconvenient maintenance scheduling, and less than enthusiastic employees.

Due in part to its competition with online streaming services, the industry has been consolidating over the years. While companies like Comcast have been on the Hall of Shame since it was first released eight years ago, this is the first time Cox Communications has made the list. Nearly 40% of those surveyed in our poll had a negative experience with Cox, a broadband cable company which services over 6 million American homes in 18 states.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. DISH Network
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 17.6%
> Revenue: $15.1 billion
> Industry: Cable/satellite TV company

Some 44% of survey respondents reported an overall negative customer service experience with DISH Network, the fourth highest share of any company reviewed. DISH is one of several cable or internet service providers to rank among the companies with the worst customer service reputations. Poor customer service can often be the result of low employee morale, and DISH Network has an average rating of only 2.6 out of 5 stars on employee review site Glassdoor — well below the 3.3 star average across all companies.

The company’s poor public perception likely undermines investor confidence. In the last two years, the company’s share price has remained effectively flat — considerably underperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 39% climb and the S&P 500 index’s 31% increase.

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