Companies we love in 8 industries we hate

Think of your worst customer-service experience. Did it involve an airline? Maybe a bank or a cable-TV company? These are among America's least-loved industries. Nevertheless, some companies within these sour sectors are working to sweeten the customer experience. Here are eight customer-satisfaction winners – culled from sources including J.D. Power and Associates, American Consumer Satisfaction Index, the Better Business Bureau, and others – in industries Americans love to hate. Do you disagree? What's your worst customer-service moment?

1. Banking

Scott Mason/The Winchester Star/AP/File
This August 2012 photo shows Navy Federal Credit Union in Winchester, Va. Credit unions are an increasingly popular choice for banking customers who have grown weary of large national banks.

Winners: Credit unions, regional banks

Big banks don't generate a lot of consumer love. There's a reason. Smaller is better in the retail banking industry, according to customers. J.D. Power breaks up the rankings of retail banks by region, and the big banks, without fail, didn’t fare too well (Bank of America, for instance, ranked last or second to last in customer satisfaction in 10 out of 11 sections of the US). The best showing from a major bank was Chase, which ranked second in overall customer satisfaction in the state of Florida. The top spots in the 11 US regions covered are littered with smaller regional banks: Rockland Trust Co., in New England, Arvest Bank in the Southwest and South Central portions of the US, and Commerce Bank in the Midwest.

Credit unions have banks beat big time. The American Consumer Satisfaction Index tracks customer contentment across 47 industries, and credit unions received the highest-ever composite score for any industry in 2011. The ACSI annual report from December 2011 suggests that regulations and rising bank?? fees are causing customers to move away from the big banks in favor of regional banks and credit unions.

Sources: J.D. Power and Associates, Bloomberg Businessweek, American Consumer Satisfaction Index

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