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Publix, Sam's Club, Hy-Vee earn top marks for customer service

WABAN, Mass. — Publix, Hy-Vee, H.E.B., Sam's Club, ShopRite, Aldi, Giant Eagle and JCPenney were among the highest-rated companies for customer service, according to new research from the Temkin Group.

Other companies earning top marks included Chick-fil-A, credit unions and Starbucks. Meanwhile, companies with the lowest ratings included Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Citibank, Qwest, Cigna, and Bank of America.

Among the winners, grocery chains were the only industry to earn a "strong" rating. Retailers, fast food chains, appliance makers, and investment firms round out the top five. But consumers gave very low ratings to TV service providers and Internet service providers.

"Customer service is a critical moment of truth for many customers. It's nearly impossible to deliver an overall great customer experience if you don't get customer service right," states Bruce Temkin, author of the research and managing partner of Temkin Group. Temkin goes on to say: "It's very encouraging to see that most companies have made improvements between 2011 and 2012."

The 2012 Temkin Customer Service Ratings is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers in January that covers the following 18 industries: 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.

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