fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,
fauxklore
fauxklore

A Two Year Old Rant

Unscheduled time means plowing through some of the junk on my desk and in my den. In the Box of Shame, I found a magazine article I intended to rant about. In the AAA World May / June 2007 issue, there was a piece about shopping for insurance. A sidebar discusses the marketing done by insurance companies and asks whether that has an impact on customer service, citing a J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction survey. It says, "State Farm, GEICO, and Allstate moved from the numbers 2, 3 and 7 spots to the numbers 3, 4 and 8 spots, respectively. This is particularly noteworthy in light of the fact that the report shows that overall customer satisfaction with auto insurance providers was on the rise during the same time period - moving from 796 to 800 on a 1000 point scale."

This is yet another example of the abuse of numbers in reporting. The relative rankings of various companies tell you nothing about customer's satisfaction with those companies since few people will have rated more than one insurance provider in a given year. All three of the companies could have improved their satisfaction scores, but as long as some other company improved more, their relative ranks would have slipped by one spot. Nor is a 4 point change on a 1000 point scale particularly meaningful.

Sometimes I want to mandate statistics classes in elementary school.
Tags: kvetching
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