AOL Tops MSN Money's Customer Service Hall Of Shame

Earlier this week, MSN Money published the results of a national Zogby poll they commissioned on who delivers the worst customer service. The winner was AOL, ranked “poor” by 47% of respondents, while Comcast came in second with 42% suckage. Sprint ranked third at 39%.

“We’ve seen a fall in customer service as we’ve gone into a recession,” says a customer service consultant in the article. “As the cost cutting occurs . . . they start to cut the wrong things.” But that implies that AOL had good customer service before the recession, doesn’t it? Wait, what?

All but one of the top 10 companies are either in communications or finance, with the one weird exception of Abercrombie & Fitch (4th place, 38%).

“Most of these companies actually aren’t thriving,” said Michael Shames, the executive director of the Utility Consumers’ Action Network, a California nonprofit that monitors business practices. People don’t look at companies with poor customer-service scores and say, “Here’s where I should invest,” he said.

“The Customer Service Hall of Shame” [MSN Money]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Truvill says:

    That trophy is made of sex and awesome.

  2. Jenng says:

    LOL I almost spit out my water when the page loaded and I saw the “You Suck” on the award! Clever pic! heres to Fridays…

  3. linbey says:

    I love how they blame it on a recession too which is hilarious since we arent in a recession. We are only in a slow growth period by definition

  4. katra says:

    Wait, wait. AOL has customers?

  5. humphrmi says:

    @linbey: I also love the articles and stories in the news “proving” that we’re in a recession by pointing to high prices.

    Rising prices would, in fact, be a typical indicator of inflation, not recession.

    Back on topic, the really poorly performing companies need to get more press about their bad performance. The more that they hear that their customers hate them, the greater the possibility that one of their execs will sober up during lunchtime and set out a plan to make things better.

  6. Their CS people were alway polite and professional( as of a few years ago )….perhaps things have changed for those who have dealt with them recently.

  7. henrygates says:

    These companies had the worst customer service long before the economic troubles in this country began.

  8. smint says:

    I would take AOL customers into consideration. If you still use AOL, you’re not that computer-smart, and if you have to call somebody, you’re really not that computer-smart. What I’m asking is what’s AOL’s fault and what’s the fault of moron customers that don’t know when it’s not AOL’s problem?

  9. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    Ok I don’t want to sound racist but I am so tired of calling for customer service and getting someone from India. Your name is not Ryan no matter how hard you try to cover up your accent, and how many people you tell it is. Its just not working.

    Although my hatred for outsourcing comes from two places.

    1) the fact that I am a customer and consumer, and when I call for customer service or support of some kind, the person usually doesn’t care, or they aren’t trained or dont speak proper english.

    2) I am unable to find a job right now as my position is constantly being outsourced to India. I applied for a job, was not chosen since I do not speak spanish. The person they chose was less qualified and flaked out after 2 weeks of working there. Then 2 weeks after that they fired all the staff and outsourced to India, and are now getting poor customer reviews due to this lack of true support.

    If we are unable to get decent customer service, or unable to understand the person handling our business, then we as consumers will go to another company. So you cut cost but you are also cutting customers. It’s a Lose Lose situation.

  10. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    You gotta love that it’s MSN is giving a loser award to AOL.

  11. Triterion says:

    Why did Abercrombie get in the top 10? I have other reasons for never going in that store, but shouldn’t they have great costumer service? They’re just selling overpriced, ripped jeans… how hard is that?

  12. mgy says:

    @Triterion: Have you ever been inside one? There is no customer service. From my friends who have worked there, when you get employed, you are categorized as an “A” “B” or “C” employee based upon…well…how you look. It determines where you are staffed. At that point, you just stand around and look nice and are instructed, in fact, NOT to help people.

    These are all unsubstantiated rumors, but that’s what I hear.

  13. mgy says:

    @socalrob: Would you rather talk to “Ryan” or Jyotiprakash Balasubramanium?

  14. ShadowFalls says:

    Please note that MSN has been in competition with those companies for years. So you can not say there is no conflict of interest there… There would have been been others better to do a more biased poll.

  15. nursetim says:

    If the person can actually help me, they could be G’Kar, Londo, or Kosh for all I care.

  16. kjohnson says:

    Shocking….plus “Zogby International” has the worst employment record in our area! Should their results be trusted??

  17. karmaghost says:

    I think the bigger news here is that people still subscribe to AOL services. Seriously, since the invention of the Internet and AIM, AOL has been redundant for years.

  18. brainswarm says:

    AOL, how I remember thee fondly back when the Internet was new, and the suckage couldn’t be seen for the great novelty of using a computer connected to a network. We loved you for we knew not that there was a better way. We loved you because we knew not of DSL or Cable modems. We loved you because we didn’t know there was more to computers than chat rooms.

    But then, the great tragedy struck. AOL’s marketing department (I would guess) decided that people didn’t like paying by the minute, and were blessed from on high with an idea of charging a flat fee per month for all the AOL access you could want. And the marketers did not consult the network technicians who would have told them that not enough capacity was available for everyone to use AOL all the time. And AOL Unlimited was released, and it was good. At least until the phone lines were filled and the computers kept dialing. And they did dial and dial and dial, sometimes for twenty minutes before rewarding the patient user with a Hayes Modem Screech followed by “Welcome” and “You got mail!”. You read your e-mail and then you have to make a decision. Do you disconnect from AOL so someone else can use it? Or do you download a program that will keep you logged in no matter what, so you don’t have to go through the ordeal again?

    In conclusion, dial-up bad.

  19. mac-phisto says:

    @karmaghost: i think everyone canceled about 8 years ago, but no one has figured out how to get them to stop billing for their service.

    a little hint for you companies out there: if you want to stay of lists like this, don’t make customer misbilling an integral part of your profit model.

  20. Trai_Dep says:

    AOL has over 9 million customer?
    Hey, Ben! Prime marketing opportunity that Consumerist is leaving untouched.
    (Kidding. Oh gods, KIDDING)

  21. freejazz38 says:

    This is a surprise why? The problem is, when some of these sucky companies are also monopolies. As in the case of Comcast, we can all thank DO NOTHINGS like McCain, who sits on the Telecom committee and takes Comcast money in is pocket. That is, if he can remember it

  22. Kat@Work says:

    @brainswarm: Yes, this had me rolling on the floor laughing – “We loved you because we didn’t know there was more to computers than chat rooms.”

    Soooo true.

  23. Edward Lionheart says:

    What AOL did to people merely trying to cancel their service should have resulted in massive firings if not the end of the company. Period.

  24. freejazz38 says:

    why would they fire people, they were doing what they were told. It’s the corporate culture, not the lowlevel employees. Although, it IS the employees’ fault for staying working there when they know what a scumbag company AOSmell is. You have a choice, they chose to work for scumbags, hence, they ARE scumbags

  25. bleh says:

    Comcast is a “victim of its own success?” There is nothing successful about the way they treat their customers.

  26. themaskedmarauder says:

    Who knew people still use Always Off Line? Wow!