Buy this! Here are your 2018 Readers’ Choice Award winners

AT&T, Disney and Southwest Airlines have won top honors in the 2018 Elliott Readers’ Choice Customer Service Awards, an annual recognition of companies that offer outstanding customer support and service.

The award, now in its 13th year, is widely recognized as one of the premier customer service honors in America. For 2018, readers of nominated and voted for their favorite companies in 17 categories ranging from airlines to wireless service providers.

The Readers’ Choice Awards serve as an authoritative buyer’s guide for consumers next year, highlighting the companies that offer the best products and customer service. One of the most noteworthy trends for this year was the closeness of the votes. In many categories, only one or two votes separated the winner from second place and in many categories, there were two- or three-way ties.

That’s good news for consumers because it suggests that when it comes to customer service, there’s a lot of competition.

For 2018, there are also three new award categories:

The Above and Beyond Award, sponsored by and curated by good-news columnist Andrew Der. A recognition of companies that have gone “above and beyond” to help their customers. Southwest Airlines is 2018 winner for diverting a passenger so she could be with her ailing son.

The 140 Award, sponsored by Generali Global Assistance (formerly CSA Travel Protection) and nominated by readers. The “140s,” named after Twitter’s traditional 140 character limit, recognize excellence in social media responsiveness and customer service. Alaska Airlines won for its innovative approach to social media and lightning-fast response times.

The Service Recovery Award, which celebrates the recovery process from customer service mishaps. Readers choose the companies that have made the best recovery in 2017. This year, the winner is United Airlines for efforts to recover from the David Dao dragging incident.

Here are this year’s winners by industry:

Domestic airline

1. Southwest Airlines
2. Delta Air Lines
3. Alaska Airlines
4. United Airlines/JetBlue Airways (tie)
5. American Airlines

International airline

1. Virgin Atlantic
2. Emirates
3. British Airways/Singapore (tie)
4. Air France/KLM (tie)
5. Cathay Pacific

Domestic car manufacturer

1. Ford
2. Tesla
3. Chevrolet
4. Buick/Chevrolet/Jeep (tie)
5. Lincoln

International car manufacturer

1. Toyota
2. Subaru
3. Mercedes
4. Acura/Lexus (tie)
5. VW

Car rental company

1. Hertz
2. Enterprise
3. Avis/National (tie)
4. Alamo/Budget (tie)
5. Thrifty

Cruise line

1. Royal Caribbean
2. Disney
3. Holland America
4. Celebrity
5. Viking/Carnival (tie)

Ground transportation

1. Uber
2. Lyft
3. Megabus
4. Greyhound
5. Zipcar

Hotel chain

1. Marriott
2. Hilton
3. InterContinental
4. Wyndham Hotel Group
5. Best Western

Theme park

1. Epcot (Disney World)
2. Disneyland
3. Magic Kingdom (Disney World)
4. Universal Studios (Orlando)
5. Animal Kingdom (Disney World)

Travel insurance

1. Allianz Global Assistance
2. Travel Guard
3. Generali Global Assistance (formerly CSA Travel Protection)
4. Amex Assurance/Travelex/Trip Mate (tie)
5. Seven Corners

Online travel agency

1. TripAdvisor
2. Kayak
3. Expedia
5. Priceline

Subscription TV

1. DirecTV
2. Comcast/Verizon Fios (tie)
3. AT&T U-verse
4. DISH Network
5. Time Warner

Vacation rental

3. HomeAway

Wireless company

1. Verizon Wireless
2. AT&T
3. T-Mobile
4. Consumer Cellular
5. Sprint

This year’s awards were sponsored by Allianz Travel Insurance, Boingo, Enterprise, Generali Global Assistance (formerly CSA Travel Protection), and Southwest Airlines.

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