New United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized for his company's performance in a surprising announcement.
Brand new chief executive of United Airlines Oscar Munoz has just come out and admitted his company is bad at customer service — but they’re not the only example of a major company that has apparently turned its back on consumers: there’s five in particular that have earned a terrible reputation.
Munoz raised eyebrows this week with his admission that United Airlines’ customer service ever since it merged with Continental Airlines back in 2010 hasn’t been good enough, saying in a recent video message that “the implementation of the United and Continental merger has been rocky for customers and employees. While it’s been improving recently, we still haven’t lived up to our promise or our potential,” according to a Fortune report.
Munoz just took over Sept. 8 for the embattled airline, and he has made customer service his goal — or at least, that’s what he says. But United isn’t the only major brand fighting perceptions that it doesn’t care about its customers. Here are five other companies that have a particularly bad reputation.
General Motors has not exactly been a well-loved company, although you’d imagine there are companies that are far more hated than it — and you’d be right. However, GM has had a bad track record as of late, with some serious recalls in 2014, including an ignition switch defect that could potentially result in and engine stalling and airbags failing — that would be a pretty bad thing for someone driving the car.
And it’s as bad as you’d expect, according to a Wall Street 24/7 report. A total of 42 deaths were linked to this defect, and it resulted in the recall of 2.6 million cars. In the first nine months of 2014, GM recalled 34 million cars at a cost of $2.7 billion. So at least the company paid for its sins, unlike many of the others on this list.
In addition, GM set aside $400 million to handle damage claims for victims of the faulty ignition switches. They were also fined $35 million by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Another company you might not expect to see on the list — and probably wouldn’t have seen a few years ago — is this electronics giant. Recent hacking attacks in response to the controversial release of “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, prompted hackers supposedly from North Korea to break in and release a huge amount of proprietary information. It included embarrassing email correspondence between and about Hollywood figures, and undoubtedly damaged many relationships and reputations that will never be mended.
The hack was so bad, Sony pulled “The Interview,” before finally releasing it online after it was criticized for the move as bowing to the will of the hackers.
You may enjoy getting a Big Mac and a large fry at your local McDonald’s, but the people serving you probably aren’t too happy. Workers are starting to clamor for better pay, which McDonald’s argues is not possible. Most crew members are paid $8.25 an hour, and cashiers are paid $8.41 per hour. The low wages have prompted protests from workers. A group of protesters even showed up outside McDonald’s campus in Illinois during an annual shareholder meeting.
But it’s not just how its employees are treated — while McDonald’s remains the dominant fast food player by far, they are starting to slip, and have been getting lower and lower customer satisfaction scores. It has seen a significant drop in sales in recent years.
Telecomm companies, because of a lack of competition, will feature heavily on this list. Sprint is no different. Although Sprint is tasked with taking on big dogs like AT&T and Verizon, who are often disliked for their poor customer service, Sprint actually hasn’t done much in customers’ eyes to provide a better customer service experience, with 21 percent of customers reporting a poor experience, according to the 24/7 report.
AT&T has been hammered by poor customer service ratings in recent years — fortunately, as an established mega telecomm provider whose only real competition is Verizon, it doesn’t have to worry about pesky little things like if their customers enjoy their service. AT&T consistently ranks as one of the worst when it comes to customer satisfaction, with about a fifth of all customers ranking their service as poor, according to a Yahoo Finance report. A total of 120 million customers use AT&T, so that makes for a lot of unhappy people who either don’t have the money to pay the fee to switch to another provider or who — perhaps rightly — believe that the other service provider probably isn’t going to be any better.
But it’s not just unhappy customers — they’ve also gotten the attention of the feds, with the Fedearl Communications Commission earlier this year hitting the company with a $100 million fine for allegedly misleading subscribers on its unlimited data plan, reducing data speeds for customers on that plan.
In addition, if you’re on AT&T, your coverage is not going to be as good as Verizon. The Yahoo report indicated that testing found that five of six measures of network speed and reliability favored Verizon over AT&T.
If AT&T users are unhappy, Dish Network users are really, really unhappy, with a whopping 46.1 percent of all respondents indicating a negative experience with Dish, according to the report.
Of course, a common theme with customer service lists like these is they often include cable and telecomm giants who don’t have much competition and therefore don’t feel much reason to improve the quality of their service — and that appears to apply to Dish Network.
And it’s not just customers who appear to hate Dish: former employees gave it a score of 2.6 out of 5, which is a downright awful rating for a company, according to the report.
Bank of America
If it’s not a telecomm or a cable giant, you have to guess that another bad, bad customer service company was going to be a megabank — once again, not exactly an institution that has to deal with competition. But Bank of America is in some ways considered worse by many people who blame them for the financial collapse in 2008 — AT&T and Dish Network may annoy you, but they can hardly be blamed for the collapse of an entire economy as Bank of America has.
But the bank also appears to fail on standard customer service surveys as well, with 21.4 percent of survey respondents ranking the company as poor, according to the Yahoo report, and 38.9 percent of respondents calling fees their biggest problem. The bank loves to hammer customers with fees, with multiple that apply to both checking and savings accounts. There’s fees for using another ATM. There’s fees for an overdraft. There’s fees everywhere. And customers don’t particularly like it. Sadly, there’s not much elsewhere they can go.
DirecTV’s sky-high rates have caused survey respondents to hammer them in the customer satisfaction area. Once again, it’s a lack of competition issue: DirecTV has no one it directly competes with most of the time, allowing them to charge pretty much whatever they want, and they don’t really have to improve their service at all.
Oh well, at least it can’t get worse, right? Well, there’s rumblings that AT&T — yes, that company that is also on this list — is thinking about buying out the provider for $48.5 billion. Could this create a customer dissatisfaction super-company that would set world records in bad service? It’s possible, if it weren’t for one other company on this list…
The granddaddy of all bad customer service corporations, Comcast is the stuff of legend when it comes to not caring about its customers, or so many people say. If you utter the words “bad customer service,” for many people Comcast is the first company that comes to mind. An astonishing 28.3 percent of respondents — that’s nearly a third — have rated their experience with the company as poor. And the majority — more than half! — said that the overall customer experience was negative. It’s an amazing accomplishment for a company that many would argue cares less about its customers than any other company in the world — and why should it care? You’ll pay for their service if they’re the only option, and they usually are.
It’s why such a huge fuss was raised when Comcast made waves at acquiring the next largest cable TV provider, Time Warner Cable. Fortunately for customers, the Feds stepped in on antitrust concerns. Unfortunately for customers, Comcast is still Comcast, and they’re setting their sites on popular companies like Netflix with a new service called Stream, trying to yank back market share that Netflix has started to carve from them.