Consumers are looking for bargains, satisfaction survey finds

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Companies that offer deals and price cuts fared well in this year's American Customer Satisfaction Index which looks at customer satisfaction as frugal consumers continue to look to price as a factor when buying.

The index, released today by the University of Michigan, has ranked companies in the in the fast food, airlines, hotels, restaurants and express delivery services.

McDonald's came in dead last in its category -- even though it has seen a growth in sales. The survey's founder, Claes Fornell, said in a statement that McDonald's ranking points to consumers who look for price breaks, but want more from their choices.

"These newcomers seem less satisfied, and were it not for the economy some of them would probably rather eat somewhere else," he said. Papa John's lead the fast food list which also showed Burger King and KFC making gains. McDonald's was the only chain that dropped in the ratings.Jim McCabe, vice president of operations for McDonald's USA, told the Chicago Tribune that company and outside research points to improving customer satisfaction and that McDonald's continually reviews its performance.

Olive Garden ranked first of the full-service restaurants, followed closely by Red Lobster. While Chili's did improve it's rating from last year, it was still at the bottom of the list.

In the airlines category, Southwest Airlines dropped slightly, but still lead all of the other carriers for the 17th straight year. United ranked last in the survey.

Hilton and Marriott tied for top place in the hotel category while Wyndham Worldwide -- Ramada, Super 8 and Days Inn -- was at the bottom. FedEx ranked first in the delivery category, followed by UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.
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