Research: Southwest, AirTran top customer experience ratings

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WABAN, Mass. – A new research report rates the customer experience of 206 large companies across 18 industries.

WABAN, Mass. – A new research report rates the customer experience of 206 large companies across 18 industries.

The research, which is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers in January 2012, includes nine airlines. Southwest Airlines earned the top spot in the industry and received the only “good” rating. AirTran Airways was ranked second in the industry and earned a rating of “okay” along with JetBlue Airlines and Alaska Airlines. The remaining five airlines earned poor ratings, with US Airways and American Airlines at the bottom.

The overall airline industry, on average, earned the 12th spot out of 18 industries. The industry made a modest improvement in its overall customer experience ratings between 2011 and 2012. Led by AirTran Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airways, five of the eight airlines that were included in both studies showed some improvement. Continental Airlines and American Airlines had the largest declines since last year.

“Southwest Airlines not only continues to set the bar for customer experience in the airline industry, but it also continues to get better,” states Bruce Temkin, author of the report and Managing Partner of Temkin Group.

The Temkin Experience Ratings evaluates three dimensions of customer experience:

Functional: Does the company meet consumers’ needs?

Accessible: How easy is it for consumers to do what they are trying to do?

Emotional: How do consumers feel about their interactions with companies?

Other highlights from the research include:

Southwest Airlines received the highest Functional ratings, a sizeable eight percentage points higher than second-place AirTran Airways. US Airways and American Airlines received the lowest ratings in this area.


Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways received the highest Accessible and Emotional ratings, while US Airways and American Airlines received the lowest scores in both of those areas.