US consumers have awarded the highest marks for web experiences to Amazon, credit unions, USAA, PNC, Southwest Airlines, eBay, Sam's Club, ShopRite, JCPenney, and ING Direct, according to the 2012 Temkin Web Experience Ratings from Temkin Group.
At the lower end of the spectrum of online customer experiences, the lowest marks were given to Charter Communications, Humana, Qwest, Cigna, Time Warner Cable, Anthem, Road Runner, Medicare, Blue Shield of CA, and TracFone.
The study was based on a survey of 10,000 US consumers in January 2012 that covered 18 industries (those being airlines, appliance makers, auto dealers, banks, car rental agencies, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, parcel delivery services, retailers, TV service providers, and wireless carriers).
"The online channel is increasingly becoming the front door to brands, but many companies still provide underwhelming web experiences," said Bruce Temkin, author of the research and managing partner for the Temkin Group. "The changes between 2011 and 2012, however, are encouraging since we found that most companies are improving."
The company examined industry averages and found that banks and investment firms earned the highest ratings, followed by hotel chains and retailers. But consumers gave very low ratings to internet service providers, health plans, and TV service providers.
The research also examined how individual companies perform relative to their industry peers. Several firms outscored their industry average ratings by 10 percentage points or more, including Kaiser Permanente, Amazon, ShopRite, Southwest Airlines, USAA, Starbucks, H.E.B., Publix, credit unions, Marriott, and Apple. However, several fell at last 10 percentage points below their industry averages, including Wells Fargo Advisors, AAA, Charter Communications, Delta Airlines, Citibank, Bank of America, Humana, TracFone, Qwest, Old Navy, U.S. Airways, Rite Aid, Kohl's, Kmart, and Charter Communications.
Looking at the changes in the ratings between 2011 and 2012, eleven out of the twelve industries that were in both studies had improved, led by TV service providers and insurance carriers. Some 72% of companies that were in both studies showed improvement. Led by Comcast (for both internet and TV service), Allstate, AOL, Charter Communications, Toshiba, and Sam's Club, 20 companies improved by 10 percentage points or more. Meanwhile, only three companies (Kohl's, TracFone, and Rite Aid) declined by 10 percentage points or more.