When it comes to receiving poor customer service, US consumers are most likely to forgive grocery chains, and other brands including USAA, credit unions, H.E.B., Hy-Vee, Dollar Rent A Car, Chick-fil-A, Publix, Costco, and Amazon.com, according to research from Temkin Group. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

The '2012 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings' study rated how likely consumers are to forgive any of 206 large companies across 18 industries if they deliver a poor customer experience, and found that consumers are far less likely to forgive Citigroup, Charter Communications, HSBC, Chrysler dealers, EarthLink, Bank of America, Comcast, Quest, or US Airways.

The 2012 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings cover 18 industries, including airlines, appliance makers, auto dealers, banks, car rental agencies, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, parcel delivery services, retailers, TV service providers, and wireless carriers.

Interestingly, the study examined industry averages and found that grocery chains have earned the most forgiveness from consumers, followed by retailers, appliance makers, and parcel delivery services. But, in general, consumers are not so likely to forgive mistakes by credit card issuers, internet service providers, and TV service providers.

"Forgiveness is a valuable asset that you earn by consistently meeting customers' needs, but many companies don't have enough forgiveness stored-up to recover from their miscues," explained Bruce Temkin, author of the research and managing partner for the Temkin Group.

The research also examined how individual companies are rated relative to their industry peers. USAA held the top two spots, outpacing its credit card and banking peers by more than 30percentage points in the ratings. USAA also outpaced the insurance industry by more than 20percentage points. Credit unions, Hyatt, US Cellular, Dollar Rent A Car, Chick-fil-A, and Bright House Networks were also more than 15percentage points above their industry averages. Five companies fell 15 or more percentage points below their industry's average: Chrysler dealers, Citigroup, Travellers, Charter Communications, and RadioShack.

The report can be accessed from Temkin Group's company blog, Customer Experience Matters (click here), and the study data can be accessed from the Temkin Ratings website (click here).