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By Jena McGregor
Our fourth annual customer service awards are a mix of repeat stars and first-timers who know how to treat consumers right. Our new No. 1, L.L. Bean, leapt from 24th to first place as recession-weary customers relished its lenient returns policy, inexpensive outdoor gear and clothing, and the fast responses from its Maine call centers. Other newcomers include bookseller Barnes & Noble, the Panera Bread chain, and regional banker BB&T, which stands for Branch Banking & Trust. Click through the slide show of our winners to see the rest.
See this year’s list of winners
How we picked the standouts
Data: J.D. Power & Associates, Bloomberg BusinessWeek