Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Satisfying scores

Great news! Fast-food restaurants are more pleasing to the American public than the post office, domestic airlines or most utility companies. But the industry sector still lags considerably behind that epitome of customer service, the overnight delivery trade, which finished first among the 18 business categories rated on the basis of patron satisfaction by the University of Michigan.

It wasn’t always that way. Quick-service restaurants were less appreciated than the last kid picked in dodge ball when the American Customer Satisfaction Index was first drafted in 1995. At the time, consumers preferred the delights of staying in a hospital, watching the news or dealing with their telephone company. Only the U.S. Postal Service, newspapers and airlines scored lower in their ahhh quotient.

But now the limited-service sector is right up there, one of the few measured trades to raise its satisfaction index. It soared from a rating of 70 points, on a basis of 100, to the current grade of 77.

The scary finding: The post office scored the largest increase of any trade with a 16.4% lift, to a score of 71.

To see what types and specific brands of quick-service restaurants rated the highest in satisfaction, check out our story in the Breaking News section of our website.


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