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US, Satisfied?

Boy, are we a finicky bunch. According to a new study by Accenture, the industry Americans are most satisfied with is — get this — postal services. And that top spot in the results only means that a meager 44% of Americans are satisfied with postal services. That’s followed by banks (42%), utilities (41%) and — yet another surprise — cable or satellite television (39%). Rounding out the bottom: Online retailers (only 19% of customers are satisfied), car-rental companies (also 19%) and travel agencies (just 16%).

But compare that to Europe, where customers are overwhelmingly more satisfied with a number of different industries. Take bricks-and-mortar retailers, for instance. In the U.S., just 37% of retailers are satisfied. In France, it’s 69%, Spain, 73%, Germany, 83%, and the U.K., a whopping 85%. Americans are also much more likely to say access to a real person would be a reason they’d switch service providers: indeed, 27% of us would do so. In Italy, only 4% say the same. At the same time, we’re also the most likely to say we wouldn’t pay for better service.

It comes as little surprise that the American consumer is extremely demanding and critical — we’ve always been a convenience-minded culture that has voted with their dollars. And that’s probably the major reason for the differences. But is it possible that European companies simply offer better service?

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