The Most Hated Industries in America, According to Customers

disapproval

Consumers are not a fan of these industries. | istock.com/SIphotography

Why is customer satisfaction important? Well, according to American Consumer Satisfaction Index research, companies with high customer satisfaction tend to have higher earnings and stock returns when compared with their competitors. So, customers can make or break the success of a company. Furthermore, customer satisfaction has also been a reliable indicator of consumer spending and GDP growth. This is likely why retailers say the customer is always right.

We looked at results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which analyzed customer satisfaction across different industries. Their findings are reported on a scale of 0 to 100. Based on these findings as well as some of our own observations, here are 15 of the most hated industries in America, according to customers. Which one do you hate the most?

15. Hospitals

emergency room entrance

Hospitals score low with patients. | Source: iStock

Customer satisfaction (scale of 0 to 100): 75

How hospitals are missing the mark:

  • Billing errors: Medical billing advocates and professionals estimate roughly 80% of medical bills contain errors. The Medical Billing Advocates of America said the problem could get worse.
  • Medical mistakes: A Johns Hopkins report found that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Overcrowding: Emergency department overcrowding leads to higher death rates. Patients waiting in overcrowded emergency departments were 5% more likely to die when compared visiting less crowded emergency rooms according to a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

14. Department and discount stores

Teenage girl going shopping

One of the most disappointing retailers, according to satisfaction surveys, is Walmart. | iStock.com/microgen

Customer satisfaction (scale of 0 to 100): 74

How department and discount stores are missing the mark:

  • Cancer-causing products: Many discount dollar stores carry products that could be harmful to your health. A study by Campaign for Healthier Solutions and HealthyStuff.org found that vinyl plastic (also called polyvinyl chloride plastic, PVC, or vinyl) and toxic phthalates were discovered in many discount store products. Vinyl chloride, which is the chemical used to manufacture PVC, has been found to be a human carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
  • Poor selection: Some stores are trying so hard to branch out to other areas that they’re not thinking through their strategy. Unfortunately, this results in lackluster product selection. One example is Target’s grocery section, which even the CEO said was lacking.
  • Bad customer service: One of the most disappointing retailers, according to satisfaction surveys, is Walmart. It scored a 72 out of 100, according to a recent ACSI report. Marketwatch suggested bad customer service and disorganized stores could be the culprit.

13. Hotels

Young couple

Hotels haven’t been providing a great customer experience.| iStock.com/rilueda

Customer satisfaction (scale of 0 to 100): 74

How hotels are missing the mark:

  • Hidden fees: Sometimes a hotel will charge extra for what they call a resort fee. These fees are mandatory and you’ll be billed for additional services such as internet access, newspapers, and the use of exercise equipment.
  • Cutting corners: Your hotel room might not be as clean as you think. Some hotels are short on staff and time, so they might not clean your room as thoroughly as they could if they had more time. You might want to bring your own towels and comforter. Want proof? Just take a look at filmmaker Dan Bell’s YouTube series, Another Dirty Room. It shows them traveling to the most disgusting hotels around the United States. You might not want to eat before you see this.
  • Bugs: By now, it’s no secret that you have to be aware of the possibility of catching bed bugs when you visit public places such as a hotel. It can certainly put a damper on your travel experience when you’re worried about bringing home unwanted guests.

12. Health and personal care stores

lady shopping with a full filled cart in a supermarket

Shoppers are also not too thrilled with the selection at these stores. | iStock.com/Freer Law

Customer satisfaction (scale of 0 to 100): 73

How health and personal care stores are missing the mark:

  • Not enough sales: Customers want more sales and promotions. Health and personal care stores tend to be a bit cheap when it comes to offering discounts, according to the ASCI survey.
  • Limited selection: Shoppers are also not too thrilled with the selection at these stores. Survey participants gave a satisfaction score of 78, down from 77 the previous year.
  • Availability of merchandise: What’s the point of returning to a store if they never have what you need or want? That’s the question many shoppers are posing when they make a trip out to a health and personal care store. Shoppers gave this area a satisfaction score of 78.

 11. Internet social media

Woman looking at social media applications

Survey respondents were least satisfied with the amount of advertising on websites. | iStock.com/Anatolii Babii

Customer satisfaction (scale of 0 to 100): 73

How internet social media is missing the mark:

  • Misuse: Unfortunately, social media is often used as a tool for bullying. One of the most recent, and sad, examples was when Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones was harassed by hateful movie goers.
  • Lack of protections: Despite the common use of social media to shame and bully others, little is being done about it. Twitter, for example, rarely enforces it’s harassment policy.
  • Too many advertisements: Those who took part in the ASCI survey who use social media said they were least satisfied with the amount of advertising on websites. Overall, LinkedIn received the lowest satisfaction score at 65.

 10. Supermarkets

shopping woman buying fruit

Customers are not happy with checkout speed at supermarkets. | iStock.com/LuckyBusiness

Customer satisfaction: (scale of 0 to 100): 73

How supermarkets are missing the mark:

  • Slow checkout: One of the top complaints of supermarket shoppers who took the ASCI survey was the speed of checkout. They gave supermarkets an overall satisfaction score of 76, which is a slight improvement from a score of 72 the year before.
  • Poor pharmacy services: Survey participants gave supermarket pharmacies a satisfaction score of 76, the same as the previous year.
  • Not enough sales and promotions: Supermarket shoppers cited a similar complaint that they gave about health and personal care stores. They aren’t happy with the lack of sales and promotions. This resulted in an overall satisfaction score of 77.

 9. U.S. Postal Service

pile of letters

The U.S. Postal service received the lowest marks when it came to the ease of website navigation. | iStock.com/czarny_bez

Customer satisfaction (scale of 0 to 100): 73

How the U.S. Postal Service is missing the mark:

  • Website: The U.S. Postal service (as well as UPS and FedEx) received the lowest marks when it came to the ease of website navigation. Survey participants gave a satisfaction score of 83.
  • Delivery options: Customers also felt the same when it came to the range of delivery options. This area received a satisfaction score of 83 as well.
  • Transaction speed: Satisfaction increased slightly when the subject turned to the speed of transactions. A satisfaction score of 84 was given by those who took the survey.

8. Airlines

Traveling by airplane

The comfort of airline seats received the lowest marks. | iStock.com/Chalabala

Customer satisfaction (scale of 0 to 100): 72

How airlines are missing the mark:

  • Customer service: Airlines in the United States have received a lot of negative press lately. One of the most memorable mishaps was when a passenger was dragged off a United Airlines flight earlier this year.
  • Seat comfort: The comfort of airline seats received the lowest marks. Survey participants gave a satisfaction score of 71.
  • Quality of in-flight services: Customers were slightly more satisfied with in-flight services such as beverages, food, movies, and music. Survey participants gave a satisfaction score of 74.
  • Loyalty program: Satisfaction went up when the subject turned to airline loyalty programs. A satisfaction score of 76 was given.

7. Health insurance

Senior Patient

Customers would like to see more variety with insurance plans. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Customer satisfaction (scale of 0 to 100): 72

How health insurance providers are missing the mark:

  • Range of plans available: Apparently, variety is the spice of life, but not when it comes to health insurance plans. This area scored the lowest satisfaction score. Survey participants gave a score of 72.
  • Call center satisfaction: Participants didn’t like their call center experience all that much. They gave a satisfaction score of 73.
  • Ease of understanding insurance statements: When it comes to making sense of health insurance statements, some consumers are a bit confused. Overall, survey participants gave health insurers a satisfaction score of 73 in this area.

6. Investor-owned utilities

construction worker checking location

Customers want utility companies to support the local community. | iStock.com/shih-wei

Customer satisfaction: (scale of 0 to 100): 72

How investor-owned utility companies are missing the mark:

  • Efforts to support green programs that impact the environment: This area scored the lowest satisfaction score. Survey participants gave a score of 71.
  • Efforts to support the local community: Survey participants were also dissatisfied with the lack of efforts to support the local community. Customers gave a score of 72.
  • Information provided on energy saving ideas: When it came to energy saving ideas, customers were slightly more satisfied, giving a score of 74. All three of the worst-performing investor-owned utility companies (Eversource Energy, Exelon, and National Grid) received a customer satisfaction score of 71.

 5. Wireless telephone service

Young woman using smart phone

Customers are not happy with call centers. | iStock.com/Poike

Customer satisfaction: (scale of 0 to 100): 71

How wireless telephone service providers are missing the mark:

  • Call center satisfaction: This area scored the lowest satisfaction score. Survey participants gave a score of 72. According to the survey, customers feel staff members are less courteous and helpful.
  • Speed of store service or center transaction: Survey participants were also not happy with the speed of store service or center transactions. Customers gave a score of 75.
  • Range of wireless voice and/or data plans available: When it came to the range of wireless voice and/or available data plans, customers gave a score of 76.

4. Fixed-line telephone service

Mature couple sitting on bed

Call center workers could be friendlier, according to customers. | iStock.com/FlairImages

Customer satisfaction: (scale of 0 to 100): 70

How fixed-line telephone service providers are missing the mark:

  • Call center satisfaction: This area scored the lowest satisfaction score. Survey participants gave a score of 66. The study says that although call centers are the worst part of the customer experience, fixed-line call centers demonstrate a small slight improvement, gaining one point from the year before.
  • Helpfulness of operators and information services: Survey participants were also dissatisfied with the lack of helpfulness of operators and information services. Customers gave a score of 74.
  • Website satisfaction: When it came to website satisfaction, customers were slightly more pleased, giving a score of 76.

3. Municipal utilities

construction worker with mobile phone

Customers want utility companies to support green initiatives. | iStock.com/gpointstudio

Customer satisfaction (scale of 0 to 100): 68

How municipal utility providers are missing the mark:

  • Efforts to support green programs that impact the environment: This area scored the lowest satisfaction score. Survey participants gave a score of 71.
  • Efforts to support the local community: Survey participants were also dissatisfied with the lack of efforts to support the local community. Customers gave a score of 72.
  • Information provided on energy saving ideas: When it came to energy saving ideas, customers were slightly more satisfied, giving a score of 74.

 2. Subscription television service

smiling couple with tablet computer on sofa

Customers would like to see improvements in customer service. | iStock.com/warrengoldswain

Customer satisfaction: (scale of 0 to 100): 65

How Subscription television service providers are missing the mark:

  • Call center satisfaction: This area scored the lowest satisfaction score. Survey participants gave a score of 65. One reason for the continuing popularity slide is competition from streaming services. More than half a million subscribers abandoned cable and satellite TV providers during the first quarter of 2017. This is the largest loss in the industry’s history, according to the survey.
  • Ability to keep service interruptions and outages to a minimum: Survey participants were also dissatisfied with the ability of subscription television service providers to keep interruptions and outages to a minimum. Customers gave a score of 73.
  • Ease of understanding bill: When it came to understanding bills, customers also gave a satisfaction score of 73.

1. Internet service providers

 working with a laptop

Customers want more variety with plans. | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

Customer satisfaction: (scale of 0 to 100):64

How internet service providers are missing the mark:

  • Call center satisfaction: This area scored the lowest satisfaction score. Survey participants gave a score of 61.
  • Variety of internet plans available: Survey participants were also dissatisfied with the variety of internet plans available. Customers gave a score of 66.
  • Video streaming quality: When it came to video streaming quality, customers also gave a satisfaction score of 68. They said that video streaming has declined and that performance during peak hours is worse. Overall, Frontier Communications received the lowest satisfaction score (56) when compared with other major service providers.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.

More from The Cheat Sheet: