The findings were drawn from mystery shopping and online customer satisfaction surveys conducted quarterly. On average, more than 5,000 panelists participated in each survey.
Each quarter, respondents rated their perception of each business's customer service on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest possible score. The scores were then averaged using the results from all four quarters in 2006 to achieve this year's top winners.
"The customers who use a company's services on a regular basis are the best sources for providing accurate feedback," said Mike Mallett, chief executive of Corporate Research International, owner of RealPepopleRatings.com. "These results are a huge help for companies who want to know how they're being perceived by their customers, and who want to find better ways to serve their customers and stay ahead of their competition."