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acsi-customer-satisfaction-foodsvcs-hotels-transport-june12.pngCustomer satisfaction with full-service restaurants has dipped this year, and for the first time is on par with fast food establishments, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The index for full-service restaurants fell 2 points to 80 on ASCI’s 100-point scale, while limited-service restaurants improved a point to the same score. Red Lobster leads the full-service restaurant segment with a score of 83, up a point from 82 in 2011, outpacing its nearest competitor, Outback Steakhouse, which remained flat at 81, in a tie with the aggregate of all other full-service brands, which dropped a point.

Fast Food Joints Continue Upward Climb

Customer satisfaction with limited-service restaurants reached a score of 80, a new peak. Just 2 years ago, the index score stood at 75. Papa John’s performed best in the category, with a score of 83, up 5% from 79 last year. Little Caesar and Subway followed with a score of 82, tied with the aggregate of all other limited-service restaurants, at 82. Pizza Hut saw a 3.7% decline to 79, while Starbucks also fell, by 5%, to a score of 76.

Airlines Data Mixed

Airlines experienced a modest increase in customer satisfaction, rising 3.1% from 65 in 2011 to 67 this year. JetBlue debuted with a high score of 81, surpassing Southwest – which fell 4.9% to 77 – for the top spot. Delta shot up in its customer satisfaction ratings, surging 16.1% from 56 to 65. The aggregate of all airlines other than those named in the report dropped 2.6% to 74, but still outpaces the average.

Despite the overall rise in satisfaction with airlines, a JD Power & Associates study released in June 2012 finds some contrasting results. According to that study, after 2 years of improvements, overall passenger satisfaction dipped to 681 on a 1,000-point scale, down slightly from 683 last year. While satisfaction with low-cost carriers improved from 751 to 754, satisfaction with traditional carriers dropped 4 points to 647. One point on which both reports agree: JetBlue has high satisfaction ratings, with the carrier ranking highest among low-cost carriers on the JD Power & Associates index for the 7th consecutive year.

Other Findings:

  • According to the ACSI, customer satisfaction with hotels remained flat at 77 this year, with Hilton (80) occupying the top spot for the 5th consecutive year.
  • Satisfaction with consumer shipping services dropped 2 points to 82. Fed Ex (82) overtook UPS, which dropped 4 points to 81, for the lead.
  • Customer satisfaction with the US Postal Service inched up a point to 75.

About the Data: The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. Data from interviews with approximately 70,000 customers annually are used as inputs into an econometric model to measure satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, along with over 200 services, programs, and websites of approximately 130 federal government agencies. ACSI results are released on a monthly basis, with all measures reported using a scale of 0 to 100.

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