Maybe long-distance telephone companies should offer their customers wake-up calls. In a poll by Maritz Research, people were asked to say which of eight industries provides the best service. Hotels won the most votes (30 percent), while long-distance phone companies got the least (4 percent). Although banks scored well (28 percent), insurance companies (7 percent) and brokerages (5 percent) didn’t. This suggests machines are nicer to deal with than people, since most of our interaction with banks is conducted via ATMs. Airlines edged fast-food restaurants (11 percent vs. 10 percent), perhaps because people think the food is better at the former. Finally, America’s love affair with the car does not extend to car dealers, as automotive dealerships won just 5 percent of the vote.
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