Top Ten Most Hated Companies in America Share Functional Blindness

In my last blog article, I shared information based on research by 24/7 Wall St., which operates a financial news and opinion firm with content delivered over the Internet. I shared the first five companies of “The Ten Most Hated Companies in America” and then explained exactly why each company qualified for such a dubious title.

As expected, the various reasons were very fundamental, obvious, and apparently oblivious to the leadership of those organizations: J.C. Penney, Dish Network, T-Mobile USA, Facebook, Inc., and Citigroup.

Now let’s reveal the final five companies as we seek common threads with the first five.

6. Research In Motion Ltd. (Blackberry)

  • Once the preeminent smartphone in America and around most of the world, RIM Blackberry has lost much of its market share to competitors.
  • Several service outages further harmed its reputation and angered customers.
  • The company’s latest smartphone, the Blackberry 10, has been delayed for months.
  • The company has fired thousands of employees in an attempt to restore profits.
  • To top off these troubles, the BlackBerry lost 39% of its brand value last year.

7. American Airlines

  • Despite its recent merger with U.S. Air, American Airlines, has, in a remarkably short period of time, ruined its relationships with shareholders, bondholders, pilots, customers, suppliers, and most of its other employees.
  • In 2011, it filed for Chapter 11, virtually wiping out shareholders and crippling corporations to which it owed a great deal of money.
  • The company has been bickering with its pilots for months over compensation, and the mass layoffs that often accompany bankruptcy proceedings have added to the chaos.
  • American Airline’s image with passengers has also taken a beating. It was recently named the U.S. carrier with the rudest employees and was ranked the worst carrier in America based on customer service, according to the ACSI.
  • The recent merger with U.S.Air makes American Airlines the largest U.S. airline. Industry experts are divided in their opinions as to whether the merger will solve many of the above problems or simply add more turmoil to what currently exists. The past week it announced upcoming price increases as a result of the merger. Adding more planes and personnel may very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

8. Nokia

  • Nokia was once the largest handset company in the world but has now lost that spot to Samsung.
  • Its brand and distribution muscle should have given it some advantages in the smartphone market. However, Nokia instead experienced a tremendous disaster, losing its industry leadership to Apple and Samsung.
  • Nokia’s shareholders have had to contend with a sickening drop in the value of its shares. The stock is down 20% in the last year, and 60% in the last two years.

9. Sears Holding Corp.

  • For decades, Sears and Kmart were the #1 and #2 retailers in the nation. No one could even imagine anyone else being capable of surpassing their performance. Sears has now been around for 127 years and Kmart for 114. Combined they boast 241 years of experience in dealing with any and all aspects of the retail industry. Theoretically, they should have no equal.
  • However, Sears and Kmart continue to struggle. In the past seven years they have had five CEOs!
  • Over the past five years, Sears shares have dropped by roughly 60%. It lost more than $2.8 billion in the most recent reported 12 months. Meanwhile, main competitors Target Corp. and Walmart Stores Inc. have both handily outperformed them.
  • Employees of both Sears and Kmart stores rate their experience at the company as poor and customer service scores are even lower.

10. Hewlett-Packard

  • According to the ACSI, HP was the second worst-ranked personal computer brand in 2012.
  • HP may also be the most mismanaged major company in the U.S., which gives shareholders a reason to turn on it as well.
  • Five years ago, the company had annual net income of more than $8 billion. In the 12 months ending in October, HP lost $12.6 billion.
  • The company shares are down more than 40% in the past year.
  • Last year, in an attempt to restructure and stop the bleeding, the company laid off 27,000 employees, more than double any other company in 2012. Employee research firm Glassdoor reports HP is also disliked by its employees.

So let’s review our findings. The most naive observer can easily identify the many common threads shared by these well-known organizations. While each may be dealing with a few unique circumstances, most would benefit greatly from simply identifying their “functional blindness” and taking the necessary steps to correct the problem.

You and I, as customers, could easily offer legitimate advice and solutions to these challenges. If we can see it, why can’t they? Here are just a few of the common threads shared by “The Top Ten Most Hated Companies in America.” Note the obvious simplicity of each.

  • Customer service
  • Employee performance
  • Employee morale
  • Employee training
  • Listening to customers
  • Alienation of shareholders
  • Out of touch
  • Mismanagement

If the leadership of these companies aren’t dealing with these critical concerns which are key factors in the success or failure of their operation, what are they doing? Ironically, if you were to rate these same areas among the nation’s leading organizations, you would obviously find that great attention is shown to each. Isn’t there an obvious message here?

Take a look at your own organization from two different aspects.

  1. T.L.C. Think Like Customers. View every phase of your business as though you were a customer. If you’re honest in your review, you’ll be surprised at what you may discover. Then make necessary changes and/or educate your customers as to your decisions.
  2. Naive Observation. View your products, services, business plan, marketing, advertising, policies, etc., avoiding any and all justification and denial. While this may prove to be challenging, it certainly produces results.

Each of the those in the “Top Ten Most Hated Companies in America” have been around for a long time and have experienced tremendous success. They know how it’s done. Their future now lies in their own hands. They will become Distinct or Extinct! As will you! The choice is yours!

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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