“The customer is always right” is a motto dating back more than a century, popularized in one variation or another by successful American and European retailers.
But not only is this aphorism often wrong — customers are not always right — but companies have not always valued the relationship between customer service and customer satisfaction or have had tools to measure this value.
That began changing noticeably in the 1990s, during the nascent emergence of technology that facilitated easier channels of communication between buyer and seller. Then, companies began to place a greater emphasis on measuring and improving satisfaction among their customers in order to grow brand loyalty, and most importantly, to collect data. Today, the internet, social media, artificial intelligence, and new methods of data analysis have made it easier for companies to formulate better customer-satisfaction approaches.
To identify the year Americans were most satisfied with customer service, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the American Customer Satisfaction index for each quarter going back to the year 1994. (Today, these are America’s best industries for customer satisfaction.)
After years of gradual improvements, customer satisfaction in the U.S. began to waver in 2019, according to the ACSI. It declined further and faster during the pandemic, which could be explained at least in part by staffing shortages that have irked many customers during the so-called Great Resignation. (This is the American company with the worst reputation.)
This recent erosion in customer service comes after the ACSI found 2017 and 2018 to have been the best years for customer service since the group began tracking the data in the early ‘90s. Though still higher than in 1997 (the lowest year for U.S. customer satisfaction based on the ACSI records), last year was the lowest for customer satisfaction since 2005.
To identify the year Americans were most satisfied with customer service, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the American Customer Satisfaction index for each quarter going back to the year 1994.
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